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Brooklynn Faith Joslin-Magro R.I.P.

December 31, 2011 permalink

Laura Lee Joslin with Brooklynn Faith Joslin-Magro
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Brooklynn Faith Joslin-Magro passed away at the age of twenty one months in Hamilton Ontario on December 29, 2011. Great-aunt Mary Joslin provides this story of her brief life.

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My great-niece Brooklynn Faith Joslin and her twin sister Destinie Hope Joslin were born to my niece Laura prematurely on March 20, 2010 by cesarean section. Brooklynn weighed 1 pound 12 oz and Destinie weighed 1 pound 7.5 oz. The twins were born either 25 weeks gestation or 29 weeks I can't remember exactly. Laura also has 3 other children that CAS did not remove from the home. CAS ONLY took the babies.

What Laura has told me is that she told her mother that she wanted to move from Hamilton, Ontario to Mississauga, Ontario where her boyfriend lives. Her mother got all pissy and called CAS telling them lies about Laura. CAS came and took the twins saying that they were not getting proper medical care and that Laura as a single mother could not handle having two babies with their health problems. Once CAS apprehended the twins they were separated and placed in different foster homes. Destinie is still with the foster home that she was placed in. Brooklynn was moved to different homes, 2 or 3 homes before her untimely death. Brooklynn had a shunt placed in her brain to drain fluids. On one of Laura's visits she noticed something wasn't right with Brooklynn and told both the CAS worker and foster parent. They said she was ok and did nothing. Laura persisted and they eventually had Brooklynn checked. The doctors did a CAT scan and found the shunt was blocked. They told Laura and CAS she would need surgery. Laura consented right away but CAS hummed and hawed before finally giving consent. When the surgery was being done, the doctor had to tug on the shunt as it had skin overgrowing it, when they did that her brain started bleeding. Brooklynn then went into a coma. Whether by meds or because it was too much for her little body I do not know. When I was told about this I started a group in Facebook as support for Laura hoping prayers would help Brooklynn in her fight to survive. In creating the group it brought many people from everywhere close and praying for Brooklynn. When Brooklynn came out of the coma she couldn't hold her head up on her own and wouldn't feed from a bottle. The doctors then put a feeding tube on Brooklynn so she was able to eat. Just before Christmas Laura was called into the hospital because Brooklynn was failing, her heart rate was up and down and her body was refusing the feeding tube On December 29th early in the morning Laura was again called to the hospital, the doctors gave Brooklynn not long to live and wanted Laura there. Laura got to the hospital and Brooklynn passed away 7:40 pm. When she passed her mom, a CAS worker and the doctor were in the room. Anytime Laura went to the hospital a CAS worker was always in the room with her and her boyfriend. Not all the workers that Laura had were bad or rude to her, some were sympathetic and comforted her. Was a different worker each time I believe.

After Brooklynn had passed away Laura's mother came to the hospital and had tried giving Laura a hug and kiss. Laura pulled away and said: Don't touch me you don't love me you did this".

Soldiers over in Greece lit candles for Brooklynn praying for her to survive. Brooklynn was here for a short while until she was called home. She was an angel for the little while she was with us and she is now an angel watching over her mom, step-dad, brother Robert and her sisters Kiylalee, Sofia and Destinie among those that her little heart has touched.

If it weren't for Laura's mother calling CAS and telling the lies, maybe/possible Brooklynn would still be here with us today and not up in heaven. R.I.P Brooklynn you sweet angel.

Source: email from Mary E Joslin

Addendum: The obituary from the Hamilton Spectator is below:

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JOSLIN, Brooklynn Faith

Classified Type: Obituaries & Death Notices

Location: Hamilton

JOSLIN, Brooklynn Faith March 20, 2010 - December 29, 2011 It is with great sadness to announce the passing of Brooklynn Faith on December 29, 2011. She leaves behind parents Laura (Shawn), grandparents Wendy (Marcel), Sandra, great-grandmother Carol, twin sister Destinie, brother Robert and sisters Kiyla and Sofia, many aunts, uncles and cousins. Visitation will be held at L.G. Wallace Funeral Home, 151 Ottawa St. N. (905- 544-1147) on Friday, January 6th from 1-3 p.m. with a service to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to McMaster Children's Hospital.

Source: Metroland (Hamilton Spectator)

Care from the Grave

December 31, 2011 permalink

CPS in Texas took baby Kemichael Austin from a living mother and placed him with foster mother Norma Davis, found dead with the hungry toddler on December 30.

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Toddler found in playpen after caretaker, 63, dies

Norma Davis
Norma Davis was raising a friend's 19-month-old baby, whose mother was found to be unfit.
Family photo

Carl Thomas had not heard from his 63-year-old mother since Christmas Eve when a relative asked him to go to her home to check on her on Friday morning.

When no one answered the door at the northwest Harris County apartment where Norma Davis was raising a friend's 19-month-old baby, Thomas and a friend pried open a window.

"My mom was on the floor, dead," Thomas, 41, said. "The baby was in his playpen."

Thomas said the toddler, Kemichael Austin, was dehydrated and crying.

"He lost a bunch of weight," Thomas said.

Officials do not know yet how long Davis had been dead.

Harris County sheriff's deputies responding to the scene said there was no evidence of foul play.

Thomas estimated the boy had been alone in the apartment with the body for about five days.

He said the boy's mother was a friend of his extended family.

Child Protective Services spokeswoman Estella Olguin said the woman's lifestyle, including problems with drugs and an inability to maintain a stable place to live, brought CPS into the child's life.

He had been living with Davis since he was about a month old and was formally placed in her home by the agency.

Olguin said a caseworker had visited the home on Dec. 15, and again five days later, to bring the boy Christmas presents.

There were no indications of problems during either visit, Olguin said.

Emergency responders gave fluids to the crying child and turned him over to CPS.

The boy was taken to Texas Children's Hospital, and was expected to be released into foster care late Friday.

Thomas thought his mother had been with his aunt, who lived nearby, and was not initially worried despite not hearing from her as expected through the holidays.

He said his cousin became alarmed, however, and called him to check on the woman.

Thomas spoke for friends and family gathered at the apartment complex Friday.

"We're just going to be strong and take care of what we need to take care of," Thomas said.

Norma Davis' cousin, 33-year-old Tomica Fowler, cradled a photo of her Friday outside the apartment in the 5800 block of West Gulf Bank.

"She's going to be missed," Fowler said. "I love her, and I'm going to miss her."

Thomas said the retiree was beloved in the community for her smile and warm laugh.

"Everybody in Houston knew her," Thomas said. "From the north side to the south side."

Source: Houston Chronicle

Blameless Father Loses Daughter

December 31, 2011 permalink

Iowa father Victor Rodgers loved his baby daughter. In two years of close observation, social workers never found him doing anything harmful to her. Yet they placed the girl with strangers for adoption.

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“They were just suspicious of me from the beginning”

Victor Rodgers with Karee
Victor Rodgers plays with his daughter, Karee, during a supervised visit in June 2009 at Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids.
Photo provided by Victoria Rodgers

When Victor Rodgers heard that his baby had been born, he headed to the hospital.

Even though he and the child’s mother weren’t together anymore, he planned on being an involved dad.

It was February 2009 — five weeks before her due date — but his ex’s new boyfriend had beaten her so badly that doctors had to deliver the baby. That’s how the Iowa Department of Human Services got involved.

Rodgers wanted to take his daughter home with him, but the DHS worker said he would have to go through the agency. She placed the baby with a foster family.

It took three months for DHS to confirm Rodgers’ paternity. Again, he asked to take his daughter home. Instead, the agency allowed him to visit her. Twice a week. With supervision.

Even though Rodgers had no history of child abuse or neglect, DHS would make him jump through more than two years’ worth of hoops to prove he was good enough to keep her.

He’s not alone. A recent third-party analysis of Linn County DHS, conducted by the non-profit Center for the Study of Social Policy, cited a concerning, widespread confusion between child safety and the potential risk of future harm among Cedar Rapids child welfare workers. The confusion was further compounded by “stigma, labeling and negative inferences drawn based on a family’s history.”

The analysis noted a “culture of caution” that leads to excessive intervention, coercion and monitoring of families, particularly black families. It found “the child protection system and its partners intervened with some African-American families in extensive ways with no clear reason or rationale.”

As Rodgers, now 48, tells it: “They were just suspicious of me from the beginning.”

Over the next few months, DHS records show, Rodgers worked his way up from supervised to unsupervised visits, meeting every personal and parenting goal the agency laid out for him. In October 2009, he even had his girlfriend, Molly, who had an extensive history with DHS, move out of his apartment because his caseworker told him to.

Rodgers agreed to take his daughter, Karee, to a safe place and call police, if Molly or Karee’s mother showed up at his apartment. By December 2009, he was consistently having weekend-long visits with his child. Social workers would drop in unannounced twice a day just to monitor his care. Things were going fine.

By Jan. 13, 2010, DHS gave him full-time custody of Karee on a trial basis — the last step toward reunification.

That month, when Molly showed up at Rodgers’ place, he took Karee to his cousin’s house, in accordance with the safety plan.

Yet when police arrived, Molly told them she lived there, and it was Rodgers who was forced to leave. When he returned later that night, Molly stabbed him in the shoulder. The next day, a DHS worker showed up at Rodgers’ home with police, demanding Karee.

Rodgers refused to hand over the child without a court order. Instead, police stunned him with a Taser and took Karee. DHS moved him back to fully supervised visits.

Still, caseworkers were positive about his progress, noting that Rodgers had maintained stable housing, employment and school throughout the case. He had everything needed to care for Karee and was showing good parenting skills.

“Victor has been able to do what DHS wanted done and progress to getting Karee home,” a February 2010 note reads. “Victor is very conscientious in moving forward in his life for himself and Karee.

“Victor did a lot of things right in the incident with Molly in attempts to keep Karee safe, including removing her from the situation,” the caseworker wrote. “She was kept safe.”

Perplexingly, though, just a few lines later: “Victor needs to be able to show he can protect Karee.”

Rodgers had planned on moving back to Illinois to be close to his sister once he got custody of Karee. He never got the chance.

On May 10, 2010, police again found Molly at Rodgers’ apartment. The state filed a petition to terminate Rodgers’ rights.

Rodgers continued to visit his daughter, under supervision. The worker’s notes are poignant: “Victor was very appropriate.” … “Victor was calm and relaxed during the visit, but did seem to be sad when this worker took Karee to his vehicle and drove off.” … “Karee never wanted her dad to let go of her.” … “Karee was very content sleeping in her dad’s arms for the majority of the visit.”

At Rodgers’ termination hearing that August, the social worker testified she didn’t believe Rodgers ever would harm his child. She was just worried he wouldn’t be able to keep her safe.

On Nov. 16, 2010, Rodgers’ parental rights were terminated. He appealed. He lost.

Karee would later be adopted by an unrelated family.

“Still to this day, I don’t have an allegation of child abuse or child neglect or anything,” he said. “I’m a good parent. They said I did a great job.”

That wasn’t good enough for a system that demands parents not only prove they’ve kept their children safe but judges their fitness to parent and rights to their children based on a theoretical future harm.

Source: Cedar Rapids Gazette


Victor’s story, part 2: No hope for family placement

When it became clear to Victor Rodgers that he wasn’t going to have custody of his daughter, Karee, he turned to his twin sister, Victoria, for help. She agreed to take the child in .

“I’ve never had to deal with DHS or anything before. This is my first experience. But I felt like when DHS came into my brother’s life, he needed the support of the family,” she told me. “Family reunification, I always thought, was first and foremost.”

Victoria has no children of her own. She has never been arrested, has a stable place to live and a good job working as a full-time cook for kids at an Illinois residential treatment facility. There was every indication she could provide a stable, loving home for Karee.

At Iowa’s request, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services did a home study of Victoria’s home on Aug. 31, 2010. They approved her for relative foster care placement.

But when it arrived, the social worker just set it aside. Already, the court had started hearings to terminate Victor’s parental rights.

After Victor’s rights were terminated in November 2010, Victoria told social workers she wanted to adopt Karee. In April 2011, Iowa asked Illinois to do another study of Victoria’s home. Again, she was approved, but Iowa said it wasn’t sufficient – Illinois workers had conducted another relative placement study, not an adoptive home study.

“Every time I cleared one hurdle, they came with another hurdle,” Victoria told me. “It was almost like a decision had been made before they even interviewed me.”

Victoria even submitted letters from coworkers and her minister attesting to her character:

“Victoria has a fun and outgoing personality and a love for people,” wrote her bishop at the First Free Will Baptist Church, where she’s been a member for 20 years. “She often spends time with the young people and gives them words of encouragement. They love it when she volunteers to cook for them on special events.”

A social worker who had worked with Victoria for a year praised her “innate ability and desire to provide for and protect those that can not protect themselves.” She encourages the children she works with “to be the best person they can be while providing them with the support and love needed to freely be their best.”

“Victoria will be great at providing a safe and nurturing home for a child,” She wrote. “She has emotionally adopted several young people in her life time and their lives are enhanced because of it.”

Last October, Victoria was interviewed by Iowa DHS adoption specialists, who later noted they were concerned by “Ms. Rodgers’ insufficient information regarding her brother’s legal issues and the risks that he would potentially pose to the child if allowed access to the child or to care for the child.”

Oct. 14, 2011, Victoria received a letter signed by a DHS adoption specialist. It read: “Dear Ms. Rodgers: An adoption staffing was recently held to match the family who would best meet the need of Karee Robinson. While your family was given careful consideration and many strengths were noted, another family was selected.

“We want to thank you for responding and we encourage you to continue your interest in special needs adoption,” the letter read. “Your home study will continue to be available for consideration for other children.”

She had no right to appeal.

Source: Cedar Rapids Gazette

Girl Missing

December 30, 2011 permalink

Michaela Smith
Michaela Smith, 13, went missing Thursday afternoon.

Thirteen-year-old Michaela Smith is missing from Fort Frances Ontario. There is no word on her home, but runaways are often foster children.

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OPP on the lookout for missing teen

Michaela Smith was last seen Thursday afternoon at the Fort Frances library.

OPP are searching for a teenage girl reported missing in Fort Frances.

13-year-old Michaela Smith was last seen Thursday afternoon at about 3 p.m. at the Fort Frances library.

Police said she was seen leaving the library — but she didn't go home.

Police describe Michaela as a First Nation female with black shoulder length hair and brown eyes. She was wearing dark blue pants and a black Adidas sweater. She is 5’6” tall with a medium build. She also has a lip piercing.

Anyone with information about Michaela is asked to contact Rainy River District OPP at 1-888-310-1122.

Source: CBC Thunder Bay

Family Law Assisted Burglary

December 30, 2011 permalink

In California Sunmee Kim has found a unique way to use the family courts. She repeatedly made false allegations, such as domestic violence, against a family. While the family members were detained by police, she burglarized their homes.

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Police: Woman claimed abuse, then burglarized homes

IRVINE – Investigators have arrested a woman accused of using fake identities to file false police reports against people she then stole from while they were in custody, authorities said.

Sunmee Kim, 36, was arrested in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles on Dec. 21, a week after authorities say she made a false domestic-violence report in Irvine, Lt. Julia Engen said.

Sunmee Kim
Sunmee Kim
COURTESY OF THE IRVINE POLICE DEPARTMENT

Using what turned out to be a stolen identity, Kim told police she had been abused by a 44-year-old Irvine businessman, Engen said. She displayed injuries that appeared to be consistent with domestic violence but that police now believe to have been self-inflicted, Engen added.

While the businessman was in police custody, authorities allege Kim cleaned out his home.

An Irvine patrol officer became suspicious about the fact that Kim hadn't provided an ID and during a follow-up interview asked her for a photograph from a government identification card, Engen said.

The officer was reportedly unconvinced by a photograph Kim provided and decided to run her fingerprints through a law enforcement database.

The search turned up her actual name, which didn't match the one she had provided police, Engen said. Authorities allege Kim fled when the officer confronted her.

Engen said their investigation has "revealed a long, complex pattern of false identities and false reports" that Kim is suspected of carrying out, including "grand theft, extortion, fraud and identity theft."

The cases appear to follow a pattern of Kim stealing and assuming women's identities and targeting Korean businessmen, Engen said.

Investigators say Kim meets the businessmen at koreancupid.com, quickly establishes a relationship, takes their money both with and without their knowledge, forces a confrontation to get the men arrested, steals their possessions while they are in jail and then leaves.

At the time of her arrest, there were two warrants in Kim's name, Engen said.

The first warrant stemmed from a 2009 Los Angeles incident in which authorities allege Kim attempted to get a man she was staying with to provide ransom money after claiming that she had been kidnapped and assaulted.

The second warrant was a 2010 Garden Grove incident in which police allege that Kim made a false attempted robbery report against a man she was in a brief relationship with and then stole from him while he was in police custody.

Authorities also believe that Kim may be tied to three additional cases, including:

  • An Orange police case from August 2011 in which Kim is alleged to have reported that a businessman she had a brief relationship with, along with his family, had kidnapped and assaulted her. While the family was in custody, police allege, Kim stole their property, along with financial documents and paperwork with personal identification.
  • When Kim fled from the Irvine officer who confronted her, investigators say, she left behind paperwork identifying a woman she had met on the Internet who was visiting from Korea. They allege Kim allowed the woman to stay with her in Los Angeles, tricked her into leaving the apartment while visiting a day spa and while she was gone stole her clothing, jewelry and passports.
  • When Kim was found in Koreatown at the time of her arrest, investigators say, she was staying with a Korean woman she had met a few days earlier. They allege she had claimed to have been recovering from cancer and that she was in the process of stealing the woman's identity.

"Our fear is that she has successfully pulled this off under assumed names in the past and the people for whatever reason haven't reported it," Engen said.

Authorities are asking anyone with information about the case or who thinks they may be a victim to contact Irvine Detective Sean Paul Crawford at 949-724-7249.

Source: Orange County Register

Don't Post Family Photos

December 30, 2011 permalink

Arizona parents Frankie and Kayla Almuina posted what appear to be gag photos of their children to Facebook. The cops had no sense of humor and arrested them for child abuse. The children were placed in the care of other family members.

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Facebook photos lead to child abuse charges

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Two people have been arrested after pictures reportedly showing children bound with tape were found on Facebook.

According to the Coconino County Sheriff's Office, a report was made to the Arizona Child Abuse Hotline on Wednesday that indicated the photos depicted two young children, ages two and 10 months, bound with duct tape around their wrists and ankles.

The report also stated the children's mouths were taped closed and one of the children was hung upside down on an exercise machine.

Sheriff's deputies responded to the home in the Kaibab Estates area, north of Williams and arrested two adult suspects identified as Frankie and Kayla Almuina. They reportedly regarded the photos as a joke, according to CCSO Cmdr. Rex Gilliland.

Each has been charged with two counts of child abuse, a Class 2 Felony in Arizona.

The children are now in the custody of family members.

Officials say the investigation is ongoing.

Source: ABC-15 Arizona

Year in Review

December 29, 2011 permalink

This is the season to reflect on the past year. Our top ten list of stories is:

  • The documentary Powerful as God by Esther Buckareff was released. It produced an internal response within CAS leaked to Esther.
  • Dozens of rallies calling for reform of children's aid societies, especially allowing the ombudsman to look into complaints, took place across Ontario. CAS response included:

    Pat Niagara produced videos A Look Back at 2011 Rallies: YouTube and local copy (mp4) and A Tribute video to all of the 2011 advocates: local copy (mp4)

  • After Alberta child protectors let baby Delonna Victoria Sullivan die just six days into foster care, mother Jamie Sullivan went public.
  • Renfrew social worker Cynthia Racine was arrested for driving drunk while she had two small foster children in her car. [1] [2].
  • The Bayne family lost its court battle, but in August MCFD returned their children after three years separation.
  • A quickie adoption law was enacted in Ontario. This law, speeding up separation of children and parents, was a step backwards for families, but the silver lining is some interesting testimony on the public record [1] [2].
  • Bill 131 (becoming bill 183) to allow ombudsman oversight over children's aid societies was voted down on second reading, precluding legislative hearings.
  • The election of a minority government in Ontario in October left a legislature that could enact CAS reform over the opposition of the governing Liberals.
  • When mother Maryanne Godboldo decided that prescribed psychotropic drugs were doing her daughter more harm than good, police and social workers showed up to seize the girl. The police claim Maryanne fired a gun in defense of her family. Neighbors rushed to defend the mother, and later proceedings demonstrated that the apprehension warrant was not signed by a judge, only rubber stamped. All charges against Godboldo were eventually dismissed. [1] [2].
  • Laura Dekker, the Dutch girl who had to win a legal case in Holland before child protectors would let her sail, got 80% of the way around the world. At the end of December she is in the south Atlantic heading northwest toward either the Cape Verde Islands or the Caribbean. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Mother's Love

December 29, 2011 permalink

Idaho teenager Jenni Lake, undergoing chemo threatment for brain cancer, suspended that treatment to give birth to a healthy boy, at the cost of her own life.

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The ultimate sacrifice: Teen dies days after delivering baby she saved by forgoing chemotherapy

Jenni Lake gave birth to a baby boy the month before her 18th birthday, though she was not destined to become just another teenage mother. That much, she knew.

While being admitted to the hospital, she pulled her nurse down to her at bed level and whispered into her ear.

The nurse would later repeat the girl's words to comfort her family, as their worst fears were realized a day after Jenni's baby was born.

'She told the nurse, "I'm done, I did what I was supposed to. My baby is going to get here safe",' said Diana Phillips, Jenni's mother.

Nathan Wittman holds photo of Jenni Lake
Boyfriend: Nathan Wittman, 19, holds a photo of his late girlfriend who died of cancer shortly after giving birth to their son who he now has full custody over
Diana Phillips with Chad Michael Lake
Distraught: Diana Phillips, Jenni Lake's mother, cries while holding her son as she remembers how strong she was throughout her lengthy battle with cancer

In photographs, the baby's ruddy cheeks and healthy weight offer a stark contrast to the frail girl who gave birth to him.

She holds the newborn tightly, kissing the top of his head. Jenni, at five feet and four inches tall, weighed only 108 pounds at the full term of her pregnancy.

A day after the November 9 birth, Mrs Phillips learned that her daughter's decision to forgo treatment for tumors on her brain and spine so she could carry the baby would have fatal repercussions. The cancer had marked too much territory. Nothing could be done, Mrs Phillips said.

It was only 12 days past the birth – half spent in the hospital and the other half at home – before Jenni was gone.

Even so, her family and friends insist her legacy is not one centered in tragedy, but rather in sacrifice.

This month, her family gathered at their ranch style home in Pocatello, where a Christmas tree in the living room was adorned with ornaments picked out just for Jenni, including one in bright lime green, her favorite color.

Mike Lake, Kaisee Lake, Nathan Wittman, Diana Phillip, Chad Michael Lake and Ashley Lake
Jenni Lake's family: From left, father Mike Lake, sister Kaisee Lake, boyfriend Nathan Wittman, mother Diana Phillip with Jenni's newborn son Chad Michael Lake, and sister Ashley Lake
Chad Michael Lake
Ultimate sacrifice: Jenni Lake decided against treatment for tumors on her brain and spine so she could carry her baby Chad to full health

She had passed away in a bedroom down the hall.

Recalling Jenni's infectious laugh and a rebellious streak, her mother held the baby close, nuzzling his head, and said: 'I want him to know everything about her, and what she did.'

The migraines started last year, when Jenni was a 16-year-old sophomore at Pocatello High School.

She was taken to the family doctor, and an MRI scan found a small mass measuring about two centimeters wide on the right side of her brain.

She was sent to a hospital in Salt Lake City, some 150 miles south of Pocatello, and another scan there showed the mass was bigger than previously thought.

Jenni had a biopsy on October 15, 2010, and five days later was diagnosed with stage three astrocytoma, a type of brain tumor.

With three tumors on her brain and three on her spine, Jenni was told her case was rare because the cancer had spread from her brain to another part of her body with no symptoms.

Her parents, who are divorced, remember they were brought into a room at the hospital and sat down at a long table as doctors discussed her chances of survival.

'Jenni just flat out asked them if she was going to die,' said her father, Mike Lake, 43, a truck driver who lives in Rexburg, north of Pocatello.

The answer wasn't good. With treatment, the teen was told she had a 30 per cent chance to make it two more years, Mr Lake said.

While he was heartbroken, Mr Lake marveled at how strong she seemed in that moment.

'She didn't break down and cry or anything,' he said.

But her mom recalled Jenni did have a weak moment that day.

'When they told her that she might not be able to have kids, she got upset,' said Mrs Phillips, 39.

Jenni started aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments, while also posting videos on a YouTube site titled Jenni's Journey, where she hoped to share her story with updates every other day.

Nathan and Jenni
True Love: Nathan and Jenni had just started dating before she received her diagnosis but he stuck with her throughout everything

She managed to upload only three videos, though, as her treatments left her tired and weak.

On her second video, posted on November 20, 2010, Jenni appears distraught while a family friend records her having lunch with her mom.

'Last night, like, I was just lying in bed and I was thinking about everything that was going on and it just like, it just hit me, like everything, and I don't know, it made me cry,' Jenni says on the video.

Her mom is shown burying her face in her hands.

'Do you know how hard it is to be a mom and know that she's sick and there's nothing you can do,' she says, before collapsing into tears.

Jenni persists: 'It's hard. It's like, I don't know how long this is going to last and I just want it to go away ... I feel like this is holding me back from so much.'

Jenni with Nathan
Happy memories: Jenni with her boyfriend Nathan at their high school prom

By March of this year, the tumors had started to shrink, the family said.

In a picture taken at her prom in early May, Jenni is wearing a dark blue strapless dress and gives the camera a small smile.

There's a silver headband in her hair, which is less than an inch long. Chemotherapy took her shoulder-length blond tresses.

Her boyfriend, Nathan Wittman, wearing a black dress shirt and pants, is cradling her from behind.

Jenni started dating Nathan a couple of weeks before she received her diagnosis.

Their adolescent relationship withstood the very adult test posed by cancer, the treatments that left her barely able to walk from her living room to her bedroom, and the gossip at school.

'The rumors started flying around, like Nathan was only with her because she had cancer,' said Jenni's older sister, Ashlee Lake, 20, who tried to squelch the mean-spirited chatter even as the young couple ignored it.

They were hopeful, and dreamed of someday opening a restaurant or a gallery.

Jenni had been working as an apprentice in a local tattoo shop. 'She was like our little sister,' said the owner, Kass Chacon.

But in May, Jenni's visits to the shop grew less frequent.

She had been throwing up a lot and had sharp stomach pains. She went to the emergency room early one morning with her boyfriend and when she returned home, her family members woke up to the sound of crying.

'We could hear Jenni just bawling in her room,' said her sister, Kaisee, 19.

She had learned that she was pregnant, and an ultrasound would show the fetus was ten weeks old.

Jenni's journey was no longer her own.

From the start of treatment, she was told that she might never have children, her mother said, that the radiation and chemotherapy could essentially make her sterile.

'We were told that she couldn't get pregnant, so we didn't worry about it,' said Nathan, 19.

Jenni, the third of her parents' eight children, had always wanted to be a mom. She had already determined to keep the baby when she went to see her oncologist, Dr David Ririe, in Pocatello two days after she found out she was pregnant.

'He told us that if she's pregnant, she can't continue the treatments,' Mrs Phillips said. 'So she would either have to terminate the pregnancy and continue the treatments, or stop the treatments, knowing that it could continue to grow again.'

Dr Ririe would not discuss Jenni's care, citing privacy laws, but said, generally, in cases in which a cancer patient is pregnant, oncologists will consider both the risks and benefits of continuing with treatment, such as chemotherapy.

'There are times during pregnancy in some situations, breast cancer being the classic example, where the benefits of chemotherapy may outweigh the risk to mother and baby,' Dr Ririe said. 'There are other times where the risk outweighs the benefits.'

There was no discussion about which path Jenni would choose. Her parents didn't think of it as a clear life or death decision, and Jenni may not have, either.

They believed that since the tumors had already started to shrink earlier, she had a strong chance of carrying the baby and then returning to treatment after he was born.

'I guess we were just hoping that after she had the baby, she could go back on the chemotherapy and get better,' her mother said.

Jenni and Nathan named the baby Chad Michael, after their dads. Nathan has legal custody of the child, who is primarily cared for by Nathan's mother, Alexia Wittman, 51.

'Nathan will raise him,' she said. She brings the baby to Jenni's house to visit her family whenever they ask.

Jenni didn't show regret for her decision, not in the final weeks of her pregnancy as she grew weaker, and not when she started to lose her vision as the cancer took its course, her family said.

Jenni's last words were about her son as he was placed beside her a final time, her father said. As she felt for the baby, she said: 'I can kind of see him.'

Source: Daily Mail

Social Worker Arrested for Cocaine

December 28, 2011 permalink

Oklahoma Child Welfare Specialist Terry Pursell has been arrested after a policeman found him with crack cocaine pipe in his pocket and six crack rocks in the ashtray of his Mercedes.

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DHS Employee Accused Of Crack Cocaine Possession

Terry Lee Pursell, 57, Arrested On Christmas Day

Terry Pursell
Terry Pursell

OKLAHOMA CITY -- An employee with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services stands accused of crack cocaine possession, police said.

Terry Lee Pursell, 57, was arrested on Christmas Day after an Oklahoma City police officer saw him and his 1997 Mercedes parked in a Braum's parking lot. The officer reported it to be strange considering it was closed for the holiday.

When the officer approached Pursell's vehicle, he drove away and was immediately pulled over, police said.

The officer reported that Pursell was extremely disheveled, had glassy eyes, was sweating profusely and had slurred speech. Pursell said that he was on doctor-prescribed medication, according to the police report.

What police found, however, was a crack cocaine pipe in his pocket and six crack rocks in Pursell's ashtray, investigators said.

When asked for a driver's license, Pursell handed over his DHS badge instead, according to investigators. Police said he talked about his job often and asked an officer if his arrest would make the news.

After being placed under arrest, Pursell suffered a medical episode that required him to be taken to a local hospital.

KOCO Eyewitness News 5 confirmed that Pursell is a Child Welfare Specialist II with the department and has been with the DHS since 2003. A Child Welfare Specialist II can perform a number of duties including visiting homes, visiting foster children in foster homes and investigating child abuse complaints.

Pursell is still employed with DHS. If he's convicted of a felony, he would lose his job.

If convicted of a misdemeanor, Pursell could still lose his job based on a number of factors, including the conviction and his past job performance.

Source: KOCO-TV

CAS Workers and Foster Kids in Crash

December 26, 2011 permalink

Two Belleville Ontario CAS workers were killed and two foster children were seriously injured in a car crash just before Christmas.

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Teachers were dedicated "heroes"

On the day they died, Jennifer Bugg and Andrea Manan were celebrating an act of charity.

Bugg, 31, and Manan, 27, died Tuesday in a three-vehicle collision on Highway 37 at Wisers Road, south of Harmony Road.

But just before noon that day, Bugg sent an e-mail message to co-workers of Connor Homes, a private and provincially-licensed network of foster and group homes. She and Manan were teachers at the firm's New Directions foster home on Wiser Road, where they taught literacy.

In the message, the teachers announced they and their students had raised about $905 for the Christmas Sharing Program, which provides food baskets to people in need at Christmas.

"Thanks again to everyone who donated and a special thanks to our New Directions students for their hard work and kind hearts," they wrote.

A little more than an hour later, Manan and Bugg were gone.

Two of the students Bugg referred to were injured, both passengers in the same vehicle as Manan and Bugg.

Connor homes executive director Bob Connor described the pair as "empathetic.

"They were dedicated," he said. "They certainly had a challenging job."

He said their fundraising for Christmas Sharing "speaks volumes about who they were — their compassion, their caring and their ideas of community service."

Their students are those in care of the Children's Aid Society. Connor said they receive literacy instruction and counselling.

While some students may not be keen to study, Connor recalled seeing one who was quite insistent that Bugg resume their lessons.

"I thought, 'Boy, there's some magic happening here,'" said Connor.

He said they had each worked at New Directions for two to three years and had four students there.

Nicole Kiss, a former foster parent who knew both women, said they were "amazing" and well-respected.

"Jennifer and Andrea, they were wonderful, wonderful women. … They gave their time every day to these girls.

"I can't think of one young individual who didn't respect them and didn't love them.

"They touched the lives of probably hundreds and hundreds of kids," Kiss said.

She said Manan was married mother with a son, while Bugg had family in Brighton and cared for her grandmother despite working "probably 70-hour weeks."

"Jenn dedicated her life to Connor Homes," said Kiss.

"Anybody who needed a hand or was in need, Jenn was always there.

"Andrea was a wonderful mom ... who couldn't wait for the evenings and weekend times to spend with her husband and son," she said.

"These women are heroes."

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Addendum: A later article gives a few more facts about the injured girls and their group home.

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crosses in Belleville Ontario
Crosses stand near the intersection of Highway 37 and Wiser Road where two women were killed in a collision last week. Residents of the area want changes made to the roadway to avoid similar incidents in the future.
LUKE HENDRY/THE INTELLIGENCER/QMI AGENCY

‘We should have done something sooner’

A group of Corbyville residents are steering a petition to fuel an overhaul of a deadly Highway 37 intersection.

Joy Court residents are revving up their bid to address the treacherous Wiser Road and Highway 37 intersection where two women were killed during a three vehicle collision on Dec. 20.

The women died when the car they were driving was rear-ended by a northbound transport truck, while they were attempting to make a left-hand turn onto Wiser Road. The impact pushed their vehicle into the path of a southbound car.

Members of the group behind the petition are calling for appropriate signage, road markings, a blinking amber light and a designated left turn lane with a separate lane for through traffic, as potential options to alert drivers of the upcoming left turn. The grouping is planning a meeting in the new year.

One of the people spearheading the petition is Rick Lake, a Belleville firefighter, who, while off duty, discovered the crash last week while en route to his Joy Court home.

Lake said his routine drive home instantly turned into an nightmarish experience when he spotted the dismantled vehicles sprawled all over the highway before emergency crews arrived. He instantly knew "this is not going to be good."

The veteran firefighter sprung into action, scanning through the wreckage, where he discovered two lifeless women, a teenager fighting for her life and a fourth woman groaning from agonizing pain.

With the assistance of an off duty paramedic who arrived at the scene, Lake provided assistance to the remaining two women, one of whom was trapped inside the crumpled car in which the two females had died. He said the teenager was falling in and out of consciousness.

"She got smashed up very bad," he said. "She was pinned in there hard."

Central Hastings OPP said Andrea Manan, 27, of Frankford and Jenn Bugg, 31, of Brighton, were in a northbound silver Chevrolet Aveo on the highway shortly before 1 p.m. Bugg was driving.

Bugg and Manan were pronounced dead at the scene; one of their two teenage passengers was airlifted to Kingston General Hospital, while a second girl and occupants of the other vehicles were treated in hospital.

The women's employer, Bob Connor, executive director of Connor Homes, operators of the Wiser Road foster home said the passenger airlifted to Kingston would "likely be in the hospital for two or three weeks."

Lake's wife, Erin, said it saddens her to know that it took the lost of life to spark a community campaign for a well-needed change on an infamous stretch of highway.

"The nickname is killer highway," she said. "I learned that when I moved here."

She said the community intends to follow through until change is achieved. She pointed out several neighbours have encountered close calls at the left turn.

"We talked about it and now we have a guilty feeling that we should have done something sooner," she said.

The Lakes have been residing in the subdivision for 11 years, but the intersection is also troubling to newcomers like Ryan Rivers. Rivers said he's now petrified to commute in that area with his two young children.

Rivers' major concern is infrequent users of the highway who are unaware of the unusual layout of the winding highway and its many hidden intersections.

"Is there a point where risk outweighs the cost?" he said.

A similar system to the Wiser Road left turn is used at Highway 62 and Fenwood Crescent in Prince Edward County, where southbound vehicles have to swerve into a marked right lane, to avoid left-turning vehicles.

Police did not indicate if charges were forthcoming in last weeks collision.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Useless Reform

December 26, 2011 permalink

Britain has announced reforms to expand adoption. Adoptive parents will no longer be rejected because of race, obesity or a past history of smoking.

These sound like good reforms for people who think only of rules and not motives. But they will have no real effect. The operators of foster care are paid by the child, and are not about to give up their cash-cows to adoptive parents. We can expect to continue seeing cases like Claudia Connell, rejected as an adoptive parent for frivolous reasons.

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At last, couples freed from 'slow and unnecessarily bureaucratic' system that blocks adoption

The red tape used by social workers to prevent couples from adopting children will finally be swept away by common sense reforms, ministers said today.

They condemned the current system as ‘slow and unnecessarily bureaucratic’ and for leaving thousands of children abandoned in state care.

Would-be parents have frequently been prevented from adopting children because they were the wrong race, overweight, or because in the past they had smoked.

Chloe and Katie
Seeking adoption: Chloe, nine, and Katie, six. In September this year a devastating set of figures showed numbers of children in care had passed 65,000

Couples who have looked to adopt have complained they were insulted and abused during the assessment process.

Children’s Minister Tim Loughton announced the overhaul which will see a panel of experts devise a new system for choosing adoptive parents.

He said: ‘Children are waiting too long because we are losing many potentially suitable adoptive parents to a system which doesn’t welcome them and often turns them away at the door.’

He added: ‘The assessment process for people wanting to adopt is painfully slow, repetitive and ineffective.’

The reform pledge follows months of deepening anger among Tory ministers at the failure of social workers to put their own house in order, despite overwhelming evidence that a high proportion of children in care have been wrongly denied the chance of a better life with a new family.

In September official figures showed that the number of adoptions of children from care had fallen so low that only 60 babies were found new families in the course of a year.

In October, David Cameron ordered a name and shame campaign against councils where social workers delay or derail adoptions.

There have never been any published figures on the numbers of couples turned away for spurious reasons or because of the apartheid-style rules social workers use to decide which families are racially fit to adopt.

But this week adoption agencies reported a surge in applications after a BBC Panorama programme told the stories of six children desperate to find new homes.

In the 1970s around 20,000 children a year, many born to single mothers, were adopted by new families.

Numbers plunged in the 1980s alongside improved benefits and free housing for young single mothers, and the development of an anti-adoption mentality among social workers.

Over a 12-month period to March this year only 3,050 children were adopted from the care system (picture posed by models)

mother father and baby posed by models
Over a 12-month period to March this year only 3,050 children were adopted from the care system (picture posed by models)

Social work chiefs decided that they ‘no longer want to see babies farmed out to middle class mothers’.

Race rules were taken up which said a child could not go to a new family unless they were a close ethnic match. But little independent evidence supports the contention that people cannot bring up a child from a different racial background.

In September this year a devastating set of figures showed numbers of children in care had passed 65,000.

Those growing up in state care – children’s homes or temporary foster care – suffer a high risk of leaving school without qualifications and going on to lives of joblessness and crime.

But over a 12-month period to March this year only 3,050 children were adopted from the care system, 5 per cent down on 2010 and 8 per cent down since 2007.

The new panel of experts will include representatives of organisations which have been deeply involved in sustaining the old, discredited process.

However it will work under the guidance of Martin Narey, the Government’s adoption adviser, who has been among the strongest critics of the social worker bias against adoption.

Mr Narey said: ‘The more I have visited local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies over the last few months, the more exercised I have become about a parental assessment process which is not fit for purpose.

'It meanders along, it is failing to keep pace with the number of children cleared for adoption, and it drives many outstanding couples to adopt from abroad.’

The panel will consider a recruitment process which will not see couples coming forward being ‘lost to the system’.

It will be asked to speed bureaucracy and stop ‘over-prescription regarding information collected about prospective adopters’.

BLIGHTED BY RED TAPE

Adoption bureaucracy was illustrated in a documentary which showed children left waiting years for their future to be settled.

One child was shown being returned to state care just a fortnight after being adopted.

Another group of a brother and two sisters left their adoptive family after living with them for three years, and are likely to be split up if they are to be adopted again.

Adoption agencies said there had been a rush of couples coming forward to offer a home to a child following the BBC Panorama documentary.

David Holmes, of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, said: ‘We need more people to consider whether they could give a home to a child through adoption.’

The documentary said some adoptions break down but no information is collected to try to prevent future breakdowns.

Source: Daily Mail

Petty Thievery

December 26, 2011 permalink

Social workers in Oklahoma have been caught in a string of thefts ranging from $50 to $35,000.

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Several DHS workers have been prosecuted

Some of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services workers caught in wrongdoing at work ended up being prosecuted, too.

Some of the DHS workers caught in wrongdoing at work ended up being prosecuted, too.

The DHS worker who stole Christmas gift cards was charged with a misdemeanor, petit larceny.

Douglas Howard
Douglas Howard

Deborah Jean “Kasey” Parrish, 55, of Cherokee, was fired in August 2009 after pleading guilty.

A bank had donated nine Visa gift cards to be Christmas presents for foster children. They had been placed in gift bags to be handed out along with other presents, records show. A worker discovered four were missing three days before Christmas in 2008.

Parrish claimed she found four $50 cards on Dec. 17, 2008, in the DHS employee parking lot in Alva. She admitted using the cards to make personal purchases at J.C. Penney, Hobby Lobby, Cato and Walmart.

Parrish pleaded guilty in June 2009 to four counts of petit larceny and was put on probation for 30 months. She had to pay $1,649 in fines, fees and court costs and $200 in restitution. She was a social services specialist who had worked at DHS for 14 years.

In a discharge notice, she was told: “Your actions in using the Visa gift cards that belonged to someone else demonstrate you cannot be trusted to complete your job duties in the ethical and honorable manner required.”

Stole from elderly

A DHS worker who stole from elderly DHS clients was fired on Nov. 25, 2008. She eventually pleaded guilty to three felony charges of exploiting a vulnerable adult.

Debra Maxine Roberts, 53, of Chelsea, is on three years' probation. She also was required to serve a 30-day term in the Rogers County jail last year and to make restitution.

“I regret any harm which I have caused these individuals,” she wrote in a statement for a presentence report.

Prosecutors allege she stole $4,497 from an 84-year-old man, $5,905 from a 74-year-old mentally disabled man and $900 from an incapacitated 73-year-old man.

Roberts, an adult protective services specialist, had been appointed a temporary guardian for the men. She had access to their financial accounts so she could pay expenses such as nursing home bills.

Fictitious accounts

Two former DHS social services specialists are serving 10 years on probation for creating fictitious food stamp accounts.

Tsa E. King, 41, of Midwest City, and Douglas Ray Howard, 59, of Oklahoma City, pleaded guilty this year to two counts of conspiracy and two counts of computer fraud. They were fired last year.

Howard acknowledged they obtained more than $20,000 worth of food stamps through their fraud. Each was required to pay $10,346 in restitution.

In one instance, they used the identity of a California man who has never been to Oklahoma, a DHS investigator reported. The man was described on a DHS computer as needing food stamps because he was homeless and later because he had two newborn twin girls. He actually did not have any infant daughters. Howard had once known the man.

In the second instance, they used the identity of Howard's cousin, who had died at age 15 in California in 1967. They created fictitious children for the cousin, too.

Medicaid fraud

A fired child-welfare specialist, Eileen Filer-Whitson, is serving five years on probation for Medicaid fraud.

While at DHS, she held a second job as a private social worker. Prosecutors allege that at her second job she submitted false claims for Medicaid payments. Prosecutors said she lied in the claims about counseling children who actually received no services.

Filer-Whitson, 47, of Luther, pleaded guilty to the felony charge and was ordered to make $35,000 restitution.

A DHS investigation also found she had claimed to be working simultaneously at DHS and her second job 165 days. She was fired in March 2008.

Source: NewsOK

Ban Pickets/Rallies

December 26, 2011 permalink

Back to the news embargoed to preserve the Christmas spirit.

Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones wants to outlaw picketing outside group homes. Justification: vulnerable residents are disturbed by the hullabaloo. How long until the ban spreads to rallies at children's aid society offices? Justification: vulnerable social workers can't serve the best interest of the child while disturbed by the hullabaloo.

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Tory MPP wants to outlaw picketing at homes for the intellectually disabled

Sylvia Jones
Tory MPP Sylvia Jones (Dufferin-Caledon) has introduced a private member's bill that would prevent striking workers from picketing group homes for people with intellectual disabilities.
Toronto Sun files

Striking workers should not have the right to picket the group homes of people with intellectual disabilities, Tory MPP Sylvia Jones says.

A private member’s bill introduced by the Dufferin-Caledon MPP would outlaw the practice.

Picket lines at supportive living residences during strikes in 2007 and 2009 kept some residents confined in their home while others fled the activities - which included front lawn portable toilets, megaphones, whistles and bright lights, Jones said Friday.

“In some cases, they literally could not comprehend why someone who last week was helping them and was a friend and was supportive, taking them to their job or their volunteer role, was outside and using bullhorns and flashing lights,” she said.

The Protecting Vulnerable People Against Picketing Act would not prevent strikes by support workers but would ban strike lines in front of the homes.

Strikers could still freely target MPP and cabinet minister offices, as well as their employer agency, she said.

Some people have suggested the problem be tackled on an individual basis as strikes pop up, but Jones wants to set a provincial standard.

A previous version of the bill passed second reading but was never called to committee and died.

This time around, Jones is hopeful that she can get enough support from sympathetic Liberal MPPs, in addition to her Tory caucus, to get the bill into law.

“I worry about the NDP,” she said. “My sense is that just philosophy-wise they wouldn¹t support it.”

Pickets set up in front of supportive living homes in southwestern Ontario in 2007 and near Ottawa in 2009.

Jones said the strike action was highly disruptive for neighbours as well.

“Twenty years ago it was a big fight to get these homes set up in neighbourhoods and we’ve moved beyond,” she said. “I am very concerned that if this becomes the norm it will be another argument that people can use for ‘we don’t want those types of homes in our neighbourhood’.’’

A spokesperson for the striking workers could not be reached Friday.

Source: Toronto Sun

Queens Family Message

December 25, 2011 permalink

The Queen's Christmas message focuses on the family. YouTube and local copy (mp4).

Merry Christmas

December 24, 2011 permalink

Fixcas wishes a merry Christmas to all.

Most Canadians are fortunate enough to spend the holiday with their family. A few separated families have been reunited for this Christmas. The Bayne family was finally reunited in August after three years of separation. Through the efforts of Canada Court Watch, an unnamed baby was kept out of foster care, an unnamed 14-year-old girl was reunited with her family and mother Lisa was able to return to the warmth of her own home.

Enclosed are two notes written by children who cannot be with their families this Christmas.

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Christmas wishes
Number one wish:
Custady pappers that says I can see my dad more oftan

Christmas wish from stepsister

And a Christmas poem from Bobbie Gellner.

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Twas the day before Christmas when all through the house
the advocates were ready to yell at some louse.
The children they fight for are in foster care,
Parents and grandparents have no clue where.

The children they should have been in their own beds,
But CAS stepped in and families live in dread.
"Stop the Children's Aid," we all shout
Everyone knows that CAS has the clout.

The Children's Aid Workers fresh out of schools,
Think that raising a child can be done from a stool.
No two are the same , they all are unique,
These parents are fighting back, no they're not weak.

Childrens Aid kidnaps children to make a big buck,
Targetting poor families who are down on their luck.
Doing social work unregistered is against the law,
Perjuring themselves in court papers, well thats the last straw.

Oversight is needed, please let him in,
The Ombudsman, his name, Andre Marin.
The Liberal government keeps saying no,
The people are shouting, "CAS has to go".

"Please sign the petition", we ask passerby,
It only takes a second, so no more may cry.
The tears and the heartaches need to come to an end,
The abuse needs to stop and not be a trend.

Neil Haskett from Sudbury he's got an ear to the ground,
He hunts down the news like a bloodhound.
He fights because he has children, day in and day out,
When he holds his rallies even he has to shout.

Chad Wells from Peterborough is a great dad,
But Judge Woods from Bracebridge makes him quite mad.
This Judge is no good has been said a time or two,
He helps destroy families, Yes its all true.

Chris Carter from Cambridge wow his voice is loud,
He makes his point well and stands out in a crowd.
He is a smart man and has a big heart,
And when he gets on the blowhorn its like a work of art.

Chris York from Niagara he knows his laws like a book,
Ask him a law question and he will tell you where to look.
Nicknamed the Polkaroo when he comes to protest,
Accountability is his goal, Oversight is his quest.

So many great advocates, too many to name,
They do this for their families and not a claim to fame.
They stand out there through snow through sunshine and rain,
Families are important and should not be in pain.

Protesters at these rallies all have the same goal,
For their children they fight, they are their heart and soul.
So on rally day you will hear our voices strong and clear,
Have a great Christmas and we WILL see you next year.

We heard Santa exclaim as he drove out of sight,
Merry Christmas to all, Keep up the Good Fight.

— Bobbie Gellner

Three Wise Rallies

December 23, 2011 permalink

Rallies for oversight were scheduled for three Ontario cities today, Sudbury, London and St Catharines.

Sudbury's was announced, and covered, in two press articles:

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CAS OVERSIGHT RALLY

The Ontario Coalition for Accountability will be staging a rally outside the Children's Aid Society of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin today. Participants are rallying for oversight by the Ontario Ombudsman.

"Currently, the office of the Ombudsman can only investigate the (Ontario) ministries themselves. The Ombudsman's hands are tied by the Ontario government and are being blocked access to conduct investigations of public institutions for further violations and criminal acts," a release said.

"Ontario is the only province in Canada not allowing investigations of nursing homes, hospitals, children's aid societies, school boards, universities and police."

The rally will take place outside 319 Lasalle Blvd.

Source: Sudbury Star


Tanya Van Norman and Tabatha Haskett
for Harold's story Tanya Van Norman, front, and Tabatha Haskett were participants in an Ontario Coalition for Accountability protest in front of the local CAS office on Lasalle Boulevard in Sudbury on Friday, Dec. 24, 2011.
HAROLD CARMICHAEL/THE SUDBURY STAR/QMI AGENCY

'Children's Aid destroys families' -- protesters

The way Neil Haskett sees it, universities, colleges, hospitals, Children's Aid Societies, police services, municipal governments, and even nursing homes across Ontario are all tied into the public purse and should be accountable to an independent body just like provincial ministries are.

"The Children's Aid Societies, along with hospitals, nursing homes, the police, the MUSH (municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals) sector, are all self-regulated," he said Friday. "We are highlighting that today. They have been resisting opening up the past couple of years."

Haskett, who is one of about 30 local members of the Sudbury chapter of the Ontario Coalition for Accountability, participated in a two-hour protest late Friday morning and early afternoon on the sidewalk in front of the Lasalle Boulevard office of the Children's Aid Society (CAS) of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin.

The local protest was one of several held outside C AS offices in 20 cities across Ontario. including London, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.

Haskett said the C AS is simply unaccountable because complaints by the public or even staff end up going nowhere.

"They do not allow investigations of the CAS," he said. "They will argue they are controlled by the Child and Family Services Review Board (of the Ministry of Children and Youth Services). They say they can't comment on any matter before the courts are already done. That is pretty much every-thing."

Haskett said Friday's protest is the first of many that will be held in the months ahead and different institutions will be singled out.

He said that at the moment, the provincial Office of the Ombudsman can only investigate ministries themselves. Investigations concerning public institutions such as universities and hospitals, he said, come from within as the bodies are self-regulated and cannot be investigated by the Ombudsman in the event of criminal acts, financial issues, or other concerns.

Haskett got involved with the coalition after being dissatisfied with a police matter involving his family.

Colette Prevost, executive director of the CAS of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin, said CAS chapters are accountable.

"The accountability group across Ontario, over the past several years, has supported calls for the government to have several institutions be overseen by the Ombudsman," she said. "We have many layers of accountability. We support accountability reviews."

Prevost said the Ombudsman is tied into the CAS supervisory body -- the Child and Family Services Review Board -- and therefore "there is an element" of involvement there.

The Child and Family Services Review Board, added Prevost, can also be called upon to do investigations involving CAS chapters.

hcarmichael@thesudburystar.com

Source: Sudbury Star

Neil Haskett Dec 23, 2011- The city issued a cold weather advisory and we still had over a dozen show up. We also had over a thousand people honking in support and we even had a few people stop and give us there information to join in future rallies.

Source: Facebook

Sudbury pictures: [1] [2] [Andrea Gustafson, Jason Ste-Croix, Tammy Mack, Neil Haskett and Lee Saumure] [Andrea Gustafson (foreground).

Pat Niagara The St. Catharines Rally outside of Family and Children's Service of Niagara went great. This rally was done in conjunction with other rallies in Ontario hosted by our friends up in Sudbury and in London. All in all it was a great turn out at all 3 events.

Source: Facebook

St Catharines pictures: [1] [2] [3] [4].

Only news so far from London:

Christine Julien thanks all who showed up today..my last thought before i go to bed..SUMMER LOVIN!!! see you all there..watch for pics and info coming soon. Lillian Rocks as Always...now TAKE A BREAK! ♥

Source: Facebook

London photos: [1] [2] [3] [empty stroller].

Source: Facebook, London photos

Video from the three rallies, YouTube and local copy (mp4).

three wise men

Unemployed Baby Snatchers

December 22, 2011 permalink

Ever wonder where that paycheque deduction called "EI" goes? Chances are you thought it was to support workers who lost their job. Turns out some of it is helping baby snatchers. In this feel-good article the Toronto Star shows how some EI funds are going to foster parents.

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Foster-to-adopt parent qualifies for EI parental leave

Ottawa is allowing working parents participating in a pioneering Ontario foster-to-adopt program to qualify for parental leave.

The change comes in the wake of a Toronto Star story last summer about the Children’s Aid Society in St. Thomas, in southwestern Ontario, which is working to ensure every child who is removed from a neglectful or abusive home is moved only once.

Under the agency’s “foster-to-adopt” program, if the child can’t go back home and becomes a Crown ward, the foster parents automatically become the adoptive family. The approach is aimed at stopping the harmful practice whereby vulnerable children bounce through numerous foster homes while child welfare officials determine if it is safe for them to return home. And it aims to ensure every child who becomes a Crown ward ends up in a forever family.

Many foster-to-adopt families have two parents in the workplace and when infants are placed in their homes, parental benefits have never been denied, said Dawn Flegel, director of services for Family and Children’s Services of St. Thomas and Elgin County, which serves the community of about 70,000.

But those benefits were called into question last summer when Jolean and Mike Anderson began the foster-to-adopt process for a second time with a baby girl, June.

Jolean, who had taken parental leave a year earlier when the couple adopted their son, Carter, was shocked when her second leave was rejected.

EI officials denied the nine-month parental leave claim because they said her foster baby wasn’t legally available for adoption. They also threatened to recoup the money she was paid during her first leave with Carter.

If the EI decision was allowed to stand, it would have had huge implications for the agency’s foster-to-adopt model, said Flegel, who helped the couple launch an appeal in August.

But in September, Flegel was advised that Ottawa had changed its interpretation of the legislation. Jolean’s parental leave claim was accepted even though the baby girl she and her husband were fostering was returned to her birth mother in November.

No other eligible parent has been denied parental leave benefits since then, added Flegel, who credited the Star story for sparking the change.

“We were so happy to hear this,” Flegel said this week. “We give credit and thanks to EI for thoroughly reviewing this, taking into account our perspective and doing the right thing for families.”

Although Flegel hopes the decision means systemic change that will bolster other Children’s Aid Societies across the country to consider St. Thomas’ foster-to-adopt model, a spokesperson for federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley said the government has “nothing to announce at this time.”

“Our Government (has) committed to reviewing Employment Insurance legislation to ensure that the needs of Canadians are fairly met,” Alyson Queen said Tuesday.

Since the Star’s story, the St. Thomas CAS has had numerous inquiries about its program, including calls from adoption officials in Newfoundland and New Brunswick.

Source: Parent Central (Toronto Star)

Santa applies for EI

Praise from Former CAS Wards

December 21, 2011 permalink

Here are two favorable stories about CAS, included here since they have real names of the former wards.

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In their own words: Two sides to the story

Kids in foster care can face multiple obstacles

WOODSTOCK — Melissa Smibert was never given the chance to know her birth mother.

"She was there to bring me into the work, then good bye, see ya," the 18-year-old explains.

In the beginning, her father took over the responsibility of caring for her. She remembers her early years as happy ones, with birthday and Christmas celebrations, and toys lined up in her bedroom.

After she turned five, things changed, and physical and emotional abuse entered her world.

"My father told me if I told anybody he would make me walk on dried rice on my knees," she said. "Every once in a while, he'd make me do it. It really hurt.

Smibert is still haunted by the fact the abuse was focused on just her. Her two older sisters, she believes, were untouched.

"I ask myself, 'why did this happen to me?'" she said. "I hated when my dad was mad at me. I thought he didn't love me."

After one brutal episode, she couldn't keep her secret anymore and talked to her school secretary.

"I said my poppa hit me. She went to the principal," she said. "That day I left my father."

When she was older, Smibert pressed charges against her father, who was eventually sentenced to six month in jail.

Life has been a rough ride for Smibert, who struggled through several diagnoses. Besides being diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and attachment disorders, and ADHD, she was also born with fetal alcohol syndrome and Tourette Syndrome, a disorder characterized by involuntary physical and vocal tics.

And while she may appear to remember many of details of her early life, Smibert has chosen to forget the early days after she taken in care by the Oxford Children's Aid Society.

"There was a year in my life I can't remember," she said. "I moved 20 times in two months."

Later placed in a group home, she said she was teased mercilessly for her Tourette Syndrome, setting off her aggressive behaviours.

Placed in her first real foster home at 11, she rebelled against strict rules, resulting in emotional confusion and sometimes suicide attempts. At 14, she moved to another group home and endured more humiliation.

"One girl made fun of my Tourette's so bad that I beat her up," she said. "You can't comment on my Tourette's, man, I get so offended."

In another home, one teen used to call her "polka-dot face" due to her acne.

"The staff were nice, but when they don't do anything about (the bullying), it's hard and you think they don't care," she said.

Despite average marks in high school, she struggled with assignments.

"I'm a perfectionist, that's why I'm so slow at writing and to get my work done," she said. "I handed in a lot of things late and lost marks."

At 16, she moved out on her own in a semi-independent program in Cambridge.

"Living on my own is kinda hard," she said.

She spends her days on Facebook and MSN, and caring for her pet hamster.

She loves animals and reggae, and hates the bus.

Her dream is to one day buy a blue Mazda or pink Mini.

She doesn't have a boyfriend.

"Emotionally I can't handle it. The last five relationships I've had, I've broken up with them after two months," she said. "I don't like hugging guys or touching guys."

If she can't hook up with an old friend she met in a Waterloo group home, she is uncertain where she will spend the holidays.

"It's my first Christmas on my own," she said. "I'm going to be all by myself."

She thinks one day she might like to become a social worker but is unsure if it will ever happen. The fetal alcohol syndrome affects her memory.

"I'll remember that I came to see you, but I won't remember what we talked about," she said.

Smibert does sometimes wonder if her life could have taken a different course.

"If I wasn't moved around so much, things could have been different," she said. "One of the girls who stayed in the foster home the longest – she was there about six years – she went to university. That's where I wanted to go."

Eighteen-year-old Dominic Bates said he was entered into foster care at age six for financial reasons.

After a couple of brief stays in different foster homes, Bates found himself in Ingersoll in a foster home that he has lived in ever since.

"(Being a foster child) has been pretty much my whole life," he said. "It's been built right into it. There's really not much adapting. My foster parents treat their foster kids like they were their own.

Bates said he feels like he was raised "like any normal kid."

"Foster kids tend to have a bad rap. Not all of us are that kind of kid," he said.

Bates, who plays in the Western Ontario Soccer League, applied and was accepted into the general arts program at Fanshawe College last spring.

He is currently studying to be a practical nurse.

"My social workers helped me a lot," he said. "Stephen (Flindall) helped me prepare for college and understand the payments and anything I needed to know."

Earlier this year, Bates was asked to speak about his experience of applying and his transition to college to a group of foster parents.

If there is a down side to being a foster child, Bates said it is the time spent away from his sisters. After they were initially separated, his two sisters also lived with his foster family.

"That was nice. That lasted a while," he said. "When they left, that was a bummer."

Today, Bates uses a car purchased for him by his foster father to travel to London to attend school. He says he considers himself very lucky to have a stable, long-term relationship with his foster parents.

"A lot of foster kids move from house to house to house. I only had to move a couple of times," he said. hrivers@bowesnet.com

Source: Woodstock Sentinel Review

Don't Tell on Us

December 21, 2011 permalink

Have you been fleeced in family court? Don't tell anybody. A British woman has been convicted and sentenced for telling her facebook friends. Family courts don't want anyone to know about their chicanery.

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Mother who published confidential family court papers on Facebook charged with contempt of court

Facebook page
Facebook log in page on a computer screen.

A MOTHER who published confidential details of her family court proceedings through a Facebook blog found herself charged with contempt of court.

When two of her children were removed from her care following a ruling by Judge Stephen Waine in August, she used her Facebook profile to rail against that decision by publishing the judgement and inviting 15 friends to comment.

She also criticised the judge and the children’s guardian, appointed to protect their interests. By revealing confidential details, and the identities of her children and their guardian, she breached the Administration of Justice Act 1960 and found herself in contempt of court and at risk of being jailed over Christmas.

The mother-of-four cannot be identified in the Chronicle & Echo to protect her children, under the same rules she ignored by posting eight blogs between August 30 and September 10.

Finding her in contempt of court, Judge Waine said: “I can readily understand it was a somewhat limited number of people and a limited number invited to access it. But the problem I can see from a series of Facebook entries is that ... they would be in a position of passing it on to anyone. Once they got to see it, she loses all control of it beyond that invited individual. I have to take the view that this matter is extremely serious and a prison sentence is absolutely inevitable. This is an increasingly common problem and needs to be stamped out.

“I have no wish for her to be in custody over Christmas. She has two other children.

“In all the circumstances, I am able to suspend the sentence.”

She was sentenced to 28 days’ imprisonment, suspended for 50 weeks and warned about any further breaches during forthcoming proceedings.

The judge added: “I do not accept her contention that she did this at a time of anger, distress, and frustration and feeling of loss although I do not doubt she suffered these emotions at the removal of her children.

She gave the matter a great deal of thought and care.

“I have no doubt these blogs were a deliberate and calculated act by the mother in this case. There is a clear and admitted contempt of court.”

Daniel Cooper, defending, said the mother had now offered a “fulsome apology”. He said: “She accepts she placed this blog on the internet and expresses her sincere regrets for doing so and apologises. This was not a public blog, only those invited to see it could do so. She accepts it was wrong and should not have done so. She states the publication was done at a low point and at a time when she was grieving the removal of her children.

“She has now removed them and apologises for their creation.”

Sentencing, Judge Waine said: “The mother has been critical in her blog about the (children’s) guardian and amount myself.

“I have broad shoulders and can accept that the difficult decision I had to make could cause great unhappiness to one or more of the parties. But it is not right the judge should be criticised in this way. If criticisms are justified then they should be made in the form of an appeal to a higher court.”

Source: Northampton Chronicle and Echo

don't speak

Broken Bones, Broken Families

December 20, 2011 permalink

When a child has a broken bone and the parents do not have an immediate explanation they usually lose the child. Today's article discusses one cause: rickets. Nearly wiped out a generation ago in the developed world, it is returning. Aggravating factors are less outdoor activity and the migration of dark-skinned people to high latitudes.

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The disturbing reason why a growing number of parents are being falsely accused of shaking their babies to death

Standing together in the dock of the world’s most famous criminal court stood two confused and sobbing parents, accused of the worst offence imaginable: beating and shaking their own baby to death.

According to prosecutors, four-month-old Jayden Wray was gripped and twisted so brutally that bones throughout his body shattered, while vicious blows to his head damaged his brain.

The injured baby was rushed to hospital where doctors said he could not survive. Three days later, paediatricians at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in London switched off his life-support machine.

Jayden Wray
Riddled by ricketts: Jayden Wray's parents were cleared of causing his death after doctors had failed to diagnose the serious childhood bone disease

So certain were doctors and police that Jayden had been hurt by his parents that the couple were barred from their son’s bedside before he died.

They were not allowed to attend his hospital christening and lost the chance to say their last goodbyes.

This horrific story unfolded over six weeks in a panelled courtroom of London’s Old Bailey. Yet today, Jayden’s father and mother — Rohan, 22, and 19-year-old Chana — are free. The case against them was thrown out ten days ago after 60 medical and forensic experts at their murder trial disagreed over what really killed their son.

Finally, the judge told the jury to find the couple not guilty because Jayden’s post-mortem revealed he had rickets, a serious childhood bone disease which had once been eradicated in this country nearly a century ago.

Rickets is linked to a lack of vitamin D, which the body synthesises from sunlight or absorbs from eating foods such as oily fish and eggs.

The disease causes the skulls of children to weaken and their bones to easily break — symptoms which closely mimic those of a deliberately shaken baby.

Rohan and Chana Wray
Rohan and Chana were found not guilty of murdering their baby Jayden Wray, and it was discovered he had ricketts

Hospital doctors in Jayden’s case, it transpired, had missed a vital clue when the baby got sick and then died: his mother, Chana, had so little vitamin D in her body that Jayden did not receive the vitamin while inside her womb or when she breastfed him.

After the case, the Wrays’ lawyer Jenny Wiltshire said: ‘These parents have been through hell. They can now grieve for the son they loved and cherished.’

Yet theirs is a case which has profound implications for all families. For it serves to highlight a growing medical problem — one which is not only leading to false allegations of abuse against innocent parents, but which is endangering the health of children right across Britain.

As Jenny Wiltshire said: ‘The real criminality here is that if the money spent on bringing this case had been used to tell all breastfeeding mothers to take vitamin D supplements, Jayden’s death wouldn’t have occurred.

‘Rickets, which is now back to epidemic proportions, would have been wiped out.’

Chana Wray
Chana gave birth to Jayden when she was 16

Indeed, a growing number of experts believe that Britain is in the grip of a childhood rickets crisis on a scale not seen since Victorian times, when children working long hours in the factories and the mines were particularly vulnerable to the ailment.

The condition was largely eliminated after World War II, when the government provided free orange juice enriched with vitamin  D and cod liver oil for every child in the country.

The difference today is that it is not only a disease of the poor. Those living in middle-class homes are just as likely to suffer from the condition — notorious for causing bowed legs and knock-knees — as those from the poorest inner-city estates.

Doctors at Southampton General Hospital recently found 40 per cent of children from all backgrounds being treated in the orthopaedic department had a shortage of vitamin D in their bodies — and were, therefore, prone to rickets.

The crisis, said orthopaedic consultant Nicholas Clarke, was ‘reminiscent of 17th-century England.’

The statistics speak for themselves: cases of childhood rickets have increased five-fold in 15 years.

Last year, more than 760 babies and youngsters were admitted to hospital showing signs of the condition. At the same time, recent research among primary care trusts found that the number of children under ten admitted to hospital with rickets leapt by 140 per cent between 2001 and 2009.

Doctors say the alarming rise is often due to today’s children spending large periods of time indoors playing computer games and watching television.

At the same time, many parents worry about exposing their children to sunlight — due to the repeated warnings about skin cancer — and cover them in high-protection creams, which impede the body’s ability to produce vitamin D and, in turn, to grow strong bones.

sunlight
See the light: A lack of sunlight can lead to the development of ricketts in children

If children are deprived of the vitamin, they are at great risk of developing rickets and their immune system is weakened. A diet of junk food, instead of vitamin D‑rich meat, liver, eggs and oily fish, is also blamed for the crisis.

As Gillian Killiner, of the British Dietetic Association, said recently: ‘We have taken it for granted that skin cancer is the big problem and overlooked the vitamin D side of things.

‘Children are covered up with sunblock, T-shirts and hats, and that can be important — but it can go too far. We don’t have a lot of sun in this country, and in winter you are likely to be lacking vitamin D. If you haven’t built up enough in the summer, that’s going to be a certainty.’

But until now, few have pointed out one of the most worrying aspects of the crisis: babies with a vitamin D deficiency display remarkably similar symptoms to those who have been deliberately shaken by their parents or carers. This may have led to other controversial criminal trials of parents accused of harming their children when — like the Wrays — they were completely innocent.

boy
Stuck indoors: Children should be encouraged to put the games consoles away and get outside (posed by model)

Earlier this year, Nafisa and Mohammed Karolia, of Blackburn, Lancashire, were imprisoned for child cruelty despite their defence team arguing that vitamin D depletion led to their baby daughter’s injuries and subsequent death from broncho-pneumonia, aged seven months, in 2009.

The Karolias were accused of inflicting many terrible injuries on the child, including breaking her leg, her arm, and her rib. The police and prosecution lawyers said they had been caused by twisting, shaking and rotating the child’s limbs.

However, a very senior paediatric consultant who has examined evidence given at the trial has told the Mail: ‘It is very likely that there was an issue here with low levels of vitamin D in the mother and her daughter. But it appears that when it was mentioned in court, the prosecution nearly had a fit because they insisted this child had been shaken and abused.’

Now one coroner has become so alarmed by the rise of rickets that he has demanded the Government take action.

North London Coroner Andrew Walker sent a written notice to the Department of Health, under Rule 43 of the Coroner’s Rules, saying mothers must be warned of the dangers of not taking the vitamin D supplements.

The notice requires the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley to respond within 56 days, detailing what action his department plans to take.

Mr Walker acted after presiding over the inquest into the death of three-month-old Milind Agarwal. The baby was taken to the doctor this summer with a suspected viral infection and was sent home with saline nasal drops. A later call to another doctor by his parents resulted in them being told to give him paracetamol.

When Milind became critically ill at 10pm one evening in July this year, his parents called an ambulance and he was taken to Northwick Park Hospital in North London. A few hours later, he died of septic inflammation of the heart and associated problems.

An eminent paediatric pathologist and a leading authority on signs of child abuse, Dr Irene Scheimberg, who conducted a post-mortem examination on baby Milind, told the inquest that vitamin D deficiency may have accelerated the baby’s illness because his immune system was weakened.

Great Ormond Street
Sad: Jayden Wray died at Great Ormond Street - Sue Reid is urging for ricketts in children to be more closely monitored

She said afterwards: ‘In the 21st century, in a civilised country, this is outrageous. It is only the tip of the iceberg.’

The highly respected Dr Scheimberg, based at the Royal London Hospital, added: ‘I hope that the doctors treating sick children now open their eyes to this vitamin deficiency and the problems it causes. It is a really serious issue and a matter of justice for parents who are accused of abusing their children.’

The parents of Milind, who live in Wembley, London, agreed to talk to the Mail about what happened. They do not want their real first names used in this article to protect their family’s privacy. Both parents, whom we have called Gayen and Shrina, were born in India.

Research has shown that those with darker complexions process vitamin D from sunlight much more slowly than people with paler skin and are, therefore, prone to deficiency — and more likely to pass it on to their babies.

When I met the bereaved couple this week at their small flat, they were still raw with grief about their baby’s death. He was born in March, a wonderful first son.

A slight muscle weakness in his heart, discovered soon after his birth, was corrected with a simple procedure, and in June, Milind was given a clean bill of health.

‘We are talking about him now because it is important for other families,’ says Gayen, a computer engineer, aged 34.

‘We had no idea that the legacy of Milind would be to help spread the word that vitamin D is essential for all mothers and their babies.’ Gayen and Shrina sit on the sofa in their neat sitting room. On one shelf are the cuddly toys that lay in the cot beside Milind during his short life.

They show me his picture, a bright-eyed and smiling child looking straight at the camera. Then they remember his last hours with tears in their eyes. Says Gayen: ‘He had had a cold, but was sleeping well on the night he died. It was very sudden when he became so ill.

‘Now we know from the coroner that he had an infection, and that the lack of vitamin D in his body meant he could not fight it properly.’

By tragic coincidence, Shrina, 29, had been told she had a vitamin D deficiency two years before Milind was born. She had a pain in her right knee and her local GP put her on vitamin  D tablets. However, as she explains: ‘I had stopped taking them well before I became pregnant. No one, including the GP, the midwife or doctors at Northwick Park Hospital, ever told me to take the pills while I was pregnant or my new son would be in danger.’

Since Milind’s death, she has revisited her GP and had blood tests. They show that she has very low levels of the crucial vitamin. ‘I am now taking pills all the time and trying to get out in the sunshine,’ she explains.

By coincidence, the child pathologist Dr Scheimberg, who unravelled the truth about Milind’s death, also helped clear the parents of Jayden Wray.

The prosecution insisted that Jayden’s injuries to his skull, knee, elbow, shoulder, hip, ankle and wrist could only have been caused by him being intentionally shaken and having his head hit against something hard.

However, a post-mortem examination by Dr Scheimberg discovered Jayden’s ‘obvious sign of rickets. It would have left the baby with weak bones, including a weak skull, and led to a series of fractures’.

She is appalled at the way that these innocent parents have been treated. ‘Some people should be hanging their heads,’ she said.

‘These young parents were stopped from even saying goodbye to their child before he died, and then accused of murdering him.’

One can only hope that their cases will lead to a growing realisation among all parents — and some in the medical profession — about the return of a condition that can be prevented by a simple pill or exposure to sunshine.

Source: Daily Mail

Den of Thieves Timmins

December 19, 2011 permalink

Fixcas cannot vouch for the accuracy of the individual lawyers mentioned in the enclosed post, but a California news report told the same story about San Diego.

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Jennifer Joy I have a Question: Can the OCL Lawyers for the Children at the Family Courts be the CAS Lawyers for CAS and for the CFSRB (Child and Family Services Review Board)? I found out there are two OCL Lawyers by the name of Kim Cogar and Lisa Barrazzuti from Timmins are really CAS Lawyers for the CAS. I was talking to other families in the area and they told me they had Kim Cogar and Lisa Barrazzuti for OCL Lawyers for their Children and I found out they were working with CAS. Kim Cogar is the CAS Lawyer for the CFSRB. They even used the same Social Worker who is registered with the Ontario Social Worker's College and Kim Cogar/Lisa Barrazzuti would bring SW Holly Pontello to the families homes for a home visit to do the assessments. She is also from Timmins. She would tell the Families that she worked for CAS Timmins then we would find out from the Ontario Social Worker's College that she currently works at the Diabetes Education Centre V.O.N. Canada, the same street where Lisa Barrazzuti's Law Office is. Kim Cogar's Law Office is just a few blocks away from them as well. The real Question begats the Question: Is this a Major conflict of interest?

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Fixcas will include corrections sent by any person mentioned in this post.

Stop the Massive Fraud

December 18, 2011 permalink

Vernon Beck of Canada Court Watch writes to Ontario's new Minister of Children and Youth Services, Dr Eric Hoskins asking for reform within the province's children's aid societies. The prime request is for a directive to all societies to get their workers registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. Following the letter is a research paper on the topic of registration of social workers, including extensive material from recent opposition through rallies and the internet. Download the letter from the Canada Court Watch site or our local copy (pdf)

Fake Reporting

December 18, 2011 permalink

The good news is that reported child deaths in Kentucky are down. The bad news is that the numbers in the reports are fake. Investigative journalism exposes the fakery.

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Some child abuse deaths missing from Kentucky's list

At least 8 fatalities not in state report

Rob Sanders
Commonwealth Attorney/ Prosecutor Rob Sanders
Joseph Fuqua II/The Cincinnati Enquirer

Kentucky child welfare officials omitted the deaths of at least eight children in their annual report on abuse or neglect fatalities — even though some were high-profile cases that resulted in criminal charges, including murder, and one was documented in other state records.

The state’s most recent report — released Dec. 1, three months past the deadline set by state law — lists just 18 such deaths in the fiscal year that ended June 30, far fewer than the 33 for the previous year. Advocates hailed the decline as encouraging.

But a Courier-Journal review of court records, news stories and the cabinet’s own records found at least eight other child deaths in that 12-month period that were not in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ annual report to lawmakers and Gov. Steve Beshear.

Among them was the case of Amy Dye, 9, a Todd County girl beaten to death on Feb. 4 by her adoptive brother, a death the cabinet already has acknowledged it did not include.

Another was the case of Anthia Lattimore, a Covington infant who suffered severe burns and suffocated after becoming wedged between a mattress and heater as her drug- and alcohol-impaired mother slept in the same bed. Anthia died Jan. 18, 2011, at the age of 9 months.

“I can’t imagine any reason this case wouldn’t be included in their annual statistics,” said Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders, who prosecuted Anthia’s mother, Megin Gray, on criminal abuse charges. “Cases like this don’t help the cabinet’s cause when it comes to explaining themselves to the courts and the public.”

Gray pleaded guilty to criminal abuse and is to be sentenced Tuesday. That case prompted a tongue-lashing of top cabinet officials earlier this year by a judge upset with the cabinet’s refusal to publicly disclose its previous involvement with Gray and her four children.

A 'closed' agency

“The cabinet is a very closed, shrouded in secrecy agency,” Kenton District Judge Ken Easterling said at a hearing, according to a Jan. 27 report in The Cincinnati Enquirer. Relying on the cabinet to police itself is like “asking Richard Nixon to investigate Watergate,” he said.

Cabinet officials said last week that they couldn’t comment on the additional deaths without a further review of their files.

But lawmakers, scheduled to question cabinet officials about the report Monday at a meeting of the interim joint Health and Welfare Committee, said they are seeking answers.

“That doesn’t make sense,” said Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, the committee’s co-chairman. “If they’re killed, it seems that should be reported. There might be 20 or 30 out there that don’t get reported.”

The National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths, arguing that as many as half of all child abuse deaths aren’t reported, is pushing for federal legislation that would require more specific definitions and uniform standards among states for reporting such deaths.

“It differs all over the country,” said Kim Day, director of the coalition, who decried the fact that “we can’t even count how many children die in this country and be accurate.”

In Kentucky, lawmakers and advocates have criticized the cabinet for its handling of child abuse cases and its fight to keep records of child deaths or serious injuries secret, despite rulings by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd that they must be disclosed under state open-records law.

Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said the disclosure that the cabinet has omitted some deaths from the annual report raises even more questions. “It’s very clear the cabinet’s numbers have no credibility,” he said, adding that Beshear needs to act to correct problems. “The governor cannot distance himself from this kind of performance. Ultimately, it’s the governor’s responsibility.”

The state’s annual report does not identify the 18 children it lists as having died from abuse or neglect between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011. But The Courier-Journal obtained the names and other details of those children through an open-records request after Shepherd ruled that the state must disclose such information.

By comparing that list with court records and news reports about cases from the same time period, the newspaper identified at least seven more in which adult caregivers were charged in abuse or neglect deaths.

An eighth, unnamed child was identified through another set of records the cabinet recently provided The Courier-Journal of internal reviews in cases of child abuse and neglect deaths.

In that last case, cabinet records show, social service officials conducted an internal review of the case of a 15-month-old girl who died from a morphine overdose on Aug. 30, 2010. The heavily redacted records, which don’t name the child, list it as a substantiated abuse or neglect death after the child ingested drugs available in the home.

Yet that death is not included in the cabinet’s annual report, despite the fact that it’s included in its own records of child abuse or neglect deaths.

Fatal beating

Nor does the annual report include the violent death of James “Tony” Hack, a Louisville 4-year-old who died Dec. 15, 2010, from a severe beating. His mother’s boyfriend at the time — Johnny Juliot, who was caring for the child, according to court records — is scheduled to be tried in January on a murder charge in Tony’s death.

Tony’s injuries included skull fractures and bruises on his back, buttocks, face, neck and scrotum, according to court records. Prosecutors with the Jefferson County commonwealth’s attorney’s office are seeking the death penalty.

Tony’s grandmother, Catherine Milliner, said she was shocked to learn that his death wasn’t counted as child abuse in the state’s report. “I don’t know why he got left out,” Milliner said. “It was a homicide through abuse. I guess they need to be more aware.”

The Courier-Journal first raised questions this month about why Amy Dye’s death was not included after Shepherd ruled that it was a result of abuse or, at a minimum, neglect by her adoptive family. State records that Shepherd ordered released in the case showed state officials had ignored or dismissed as unfounded repeated reports from Todd County school officials that the girl was suffering abuse at home.

State officials have said they didn’t count Amy’s death because she was killed by her 17-year-old brother, not a parent. Garrett Dye, now 18, pleaded guilty to Amy’s murder and was sentenced last month to 50 years in prison.

Shepherd has ruled that the cabinet’s stance conflicts with state law, which allows social service workers to substantiate abuse or neglect in cases involving parents, guardians or others supervising or caring for children.

The cabinet’s refusal to include Amy’s murder drew outraged responses from lawmakers and advocates who said it undermines the credibility of the cabinet and its report.

Additional deaths

Other cases not included in the report:

Cally Jobe, a 16-month-old Boyd County girl who died May 3. Brian “Trinity” Brewster, who had been living with the girl’s mother, Lakyn Jobe, has been charged with murder, and the mother is charged with criminal abuse, said David Justice, Boyd County commonwealth’s attorney. “This was a high-profile case in our county,” Justice said, adding the child was brain-damaged from a violent shaking. “I’ll prosecute this guy as hard as I can.”

Addysen Brooks Mayes, a 10-month-old Clark County girl who died from a drug overdose, resulting in the conviction of her grandparents, who were baby-sitting, and the girl’s mother.

Addysen died in October 2010 after ingesting enough methadone at her grandparents’ home to kill an adult, according to reports in the Winchester Sun.

Her mother, Brooks Ecton, who left the girl with the grandparents, was sentenced to a year’s probation Dec. 1 after pleading guilty to wanton endangerment for leaving the girl in their care. And grandmother Cheryl Kirkwood Black and her husband, David Black, were sentenced to 10 years each for manslaughter for allowing the child access to the drug.

Clark Circuit Judge Jean Chenault Logue had stern words for the child’s mother and grandparents at a recent sentencing hearing, according to the newspaper. “The parent trusted the grandparent,” Logue said. “As a sole result of that trust, the child is no longer with us.”

Ten-month-old Dominic Knox Stephens of Lexington, who died Sept. 30, 2010, from an apparent beating or shaking. Christopher Ryan Mitchell, a friend of the mother who was baby-sitting, has been charged with manslaughter.

Conner Bachuss, 2, of McCracken County, who died Dec. 10, 2010, after a fatal beating. The mother’s boyfriend, Ronald Sanders, has been charged with murder.

Source: Louisville Courier-Journal

Agent Orange

December 18, 2011 permalink

What do social workers say when they think they are in private? They call little boys future, or even present, rapists, and they fraternize with women advocating elimination of men by failure to nurture male children.

An investigator so far known only by the name Agent Orange created a feminine identity for himself and joined the feminist discussion group Radfem Hub. He mined the group for years of discussions, and through investigation was able to associate the screen names with their real identities. The contributors were not on the fringes, but mainstream women.

Here are two examples:

Allecto
Post subject: Re: "I'll just rape you"
Posted: Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:l1 am
Admin
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 6:00 am
Posts: 862
Location: Blue Mountains, Australia

Thanks for the supportive comments sisters. I honestly have been reassessing the fact that I am giving care to these little future rapists, and what that says about me and my separatism. I know it is kinda going against my principles to support and care for these little fuckers. The women I feel most sorry for are their mothers. The way that these boys treat their mothers is really shocking, all the while the mothers are trying to be perfect and loving and all that shit. If these kids were mine there would be hell to pay.

The worst of it is that about six months ago Mr. Rape Threat was holed up in a corner with this same girl, Ms. Harrassment Victim, and another two children were trying to pressure her into kissing Mr. Rape Threat. I brought this up at a staff meeting and said that we need to protect Ms. Harrassment Victim from Mr. Rape Threat. I was told in no uncertain terms that Ms. Harrassment Victim was sexually precocious and like to draw attention to herself and it was *her* fault the this was happening to her and that she was in the early stages of being experimental with her sexual power over boys. Fuck that for fucked up shit!!!!!

Danielle Pynnonen (screen name “Allecto”), a child care worker whose employer is unknown


Mary Sunshine
October 10, 2011 at 6:47

Females don't have to kill baby boys. Just not nurture them. Females are forced to *birth* baby boys, but beyond that a female's physical actions are her own.

Males will die without the constant infusion of female energy that they get from our wombs and from our lives. They are perfectly welcome to take the male infants from the hands of the midwife, and what they do with it from that point is *their* decision.

Females need to not be emotionally and intellectually invested in a male future.

FCM

Mary Syrett (screen name “Mary Sunshine”), a writer and member of the City of Kingston Arts Council in Ontario, Canada

Here is our copy of the full article Radfem Hub: the underbelly of a hate movement. There is also a two hour radio discussion led by Paul Elam (mp3).

Addendum: Chris Carter follows up with a request to the Kingston Arts Council.

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From:
Chris Carter <helpingfamilieswr@yahoo.ca>
To:
"karen@artskingston.com" <karen@artskingston.com>
Subject:
in regards to the Kingston Arts Council's member Ms. Mary Syrett
Date sent:
Mon, 19 Dec 2011 10:08:18 -0800 (PST)
Send reply to:
Chris Carter <helpingfamilieswr@yahoo.ca>
Copies to:
<info@artskingston.com>, <programs@artskingston.com>, <ted@artskingston.com>, <sayyida@artskingston.com>, Human Rights Tribunal <hrto.tdpo@ontario.ca>, <owd@ontario.ca>, DaltonMcGuinty <dmcguinty.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org>, LaurelBroten <lbroten.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org>, <mchan.mpp@liberal.ola.org>, <???General_Info@mtc.gov.on.ca>

Monday December 19, 2011

Hello Ms. Dolan.  

I obtained your contact information from the Kingston Arts Council's internet website: http://artskingston.com/kac-board.cfm

My name is Chris Carter and I'm writing to you from my home in Cambridge Ontario.

I'm a member of an organization called Canada Court Watch (CCW): http://www.canadacourtwatch.com/ 

I'm also a reader, supporter and occasional contributor to the fixcas.com website: http://www.fixcas.com/news/now/news.htm

Both CCW and fixcas.com work to effect accountability and transparency with the government of Ontario's Children's Aid Society (CAS) child protection system.

You'll notice that I've copied numerous third parties on this email including the Minister for Children and Youth Services, the Minster for Tourism, Culture and Sports, Premier McGuinty and the Minister for Women's Issues.

Yesterday, Sunday December 18, 2011, fixcas.com posted a report of a news report which contains a claim that a "member" of the Kingston Arts Council, a Ms. M S has participated in a severely anti-male and even anti-children (male children anyways) blog called "Radfem Hub."

In fact, there is an ugly post from Oct. 10, 2011 which the author (not fixcas.com, which is in fact re-reporting the original story) of this expose type of news report appears to be claiming was actually written and posted by Ms. M S herself:

Here is a link to that fixcas.com report involving Ms. S: http://www.fixcas.com/news/2011/Orange/Orange.htm

Here is the post which is alleged to have been written and posted by Ms. M S: http://fixcas.com/news/2011/Orange/Orange.htm  

Mary Sunshine
October 10, 2011 at 6:47

Females don't have to kill baby boys. Just not nurture them. Females are forced to *birth* baby boys, but beyond that a female's physical actions are her own.

Males will die without the constant infusion of female energy that they get from our wombs and from our lives. They are perfectly welcome to take the male infants from the hands of the midwife, and what they do with it from that point is *their* decision.

Females need to not be emotionally and intellectually invested in a male future.

FCM

Of course this could be a misunderstanding of some type.

Although the story contains a claim that an investigator confirmed the identity of the participants of Radfem Hub's not publicly posted "private forum" perhaps the author's (who is reported to be a Mr. Robert O'Hara) assertion that "Mary Sunshine" is Ms. M S is not accurate.

Perhaps someone maliciously logged onto Ms. M S's blog or into her email account and posted this ugly comment without Ms. S's knowledge.

However, on contingency:


 

Question 1:

Would you-the Kingston Arts Council be kind enough to shed some light on this issue?


 

Question 2:

Do you agree with me and perhaps others that the aforementioned post by "Mary Sunshine" (allegedly a.k.a. Kingston Arts Council member Ms. M S) is objectionable?


 

Question 3:

Am I correct in assuming that the Kingston Arts Council would not wish to be associated with such a "Females don't have to kill baby boys..." comment and Radfem Hub's ideology of misandry in general?


 

Question 4:

Will the Kingston Arts Council be taking specific action in regards to:

i) confirming that in fact "Mary Sunshine" is or isn't the Kingston Arts Council member Ms. M S? and,

ii) obligating Ms. M S to issue a public apology and perhaps partake in counselling/therapy if she is found guilty of having made the "Mary Sunshine" post as reported above? and,

iii) removing Ms. M S from Kingston Art Council's membership if it is established that she is "Mary Sunshine" and that she is responsible for the aforementioned "Females don't have to kill baby boys..." post but she refuses to issue a public apology and partake in counselling/therapy to deal with her apparent feelings of misandry?


   

Again, and only if the allegations against Ms. S are confirmed, in my opinion and perhaps obviously the issue of whether or not Ms. S should be allowed access to children, especially male children, will have to be examined by the authorities but in the meantime and as a precaution:

Question 5:

Will the Kingston Arts Council undertake to prevent Ms. M S from having access to children on Kingston Arts Council property?  


 

While I most definitely wish to be provided with an official Kingston Arts Council written response sent to this my email address please, also feel free to leave a voice mail for me at: 705-242-1567 as well. 

Respectfully,

Chris Carter

Source: Chris Carter, showing his soft and gentle side.

Addendum: Mary Syrett (Mary Sunshine) is the only Canadian on the list. Owing to her notoriety we have collected all of her writings released by Agent Orange. The images are in chronological order: [16] [17] [11] [13] [14] [15]. Text of Mary's posts only is enclosed.

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Mary Sunshine July 5, 2011 at 8:03 pm

"Sexism" is a word that I've never used, I use male supremacy, female-hating, and maleness. Male rule.

Male supremacy isn't a feeling, it's a fact: the slaughter of Female Being in all her manifestations. The destruction of the Daughter. Male parasitism. Females have powerful words that we can use. Not that the usage of words will get us anywhere until males are reduced to 20% of the "human" population. Then we can simply enjoy the usage of words at our leisure.

Noanodyne, thank you once again for bringing me into the brilliant field of your unfailing Female intelligence.


Mary Sunshine July 9, 2011 at 12:22 am

Well, I've just been witch-hunted again over on facebook for saying that men rape women and that I hate men. Men certainly hate me, but those women hate me even more. It's just a matter of who's going to get a chance to kill me first. Casey Anthony is my sister. Women are really out for each others' blood, eh?


Mary Sunshine October 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Women need to stop raising male children. Women who raise male children are digging the graves of other females. Nobody wants to bite that bullet (except lesbian separatists) but it must be done.


Mary Sunshine October 10, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Females don't have to kill baby boys. Just not nurture them. Females are forced to *birth* baby boys, but beyond that a female's physical actions are her own.

Males will die without the constant infusion of female energy that they get from our wombs and from our lives. They are perfectly welcome to take the male infants from the hands of the midwife, and what they do with it from that point is *their* decision.

Females need to not be emotionally and intellectually invested in a male future.


Mary Sunshine October 11, 2011 at 12:02 am

FCM, you've got it. I'm right there with you.

One news story I read today was about gonorrhea. It has now mutated to the point where no known antibiotics will treat it. So, they don't know "what to do" about it. Hah. Well, let's ignore the obvious. Males all over the world stop sticking their dicks into females. And let's ignore the even more urgently obvious: females: under no circumstances volunteer your vagina for a male to stick his dick into.

Survival time is here and now, increasingly, for more and more females on this planet.

I do all those things that you suggest, Noan. And FCM, yes, I constantly guard my health. Store food and water. Keep myself supplied with tools, equipment, materials. Live under the radar. Scour for information every day. Constantly review and question my own mindset.

I long for female community, in a survival situation beyond the collapse of the money system. What can I bring to that community, and how, is the story of the rest of my life,

Mary Sunshine October 11, 2011 at 12:26 am

Oh, and we have a full moon tonight. Good time for spellcasting. ☺ ☺ We're doing lots of that here. ☺ ☺


Mary Sunshine November 7, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Maggie.

I think that males should be out of there by the age of 6.

Also, the bringing of another child into the group would have to be a collective decision - that's where the elders come in. They have decades of observing what is manageable and what isn't.

Source: Agent Orange
direct link to zip file

boys are stupid

Ron Paul on Drugs

December 16, 2011 permalink

Texas congressman and US presidential candidate Dr Ron Paul speaks on the forced psychiatric drugging of children (mp4), starting with the Godboldo case. [1] [2].

Home Birth

December 16, 2011 permalink

One way to avoid baby-snatching is to give birth at home and not register the baby. It is becoming more popular. Australian authorities are correcting the problem not by being less menacing to mothers, but by clamping down harder on them.

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Babies born in secret

baby
Babies are being born in secret, says a new report.

MOTHERS are giving birth secretly for fear of having their babies taken away from them, a parliamentary report has found.

Unborn babies flagged as at-risk - their mothers often young and with drug and alcohol and mental health problems - were disappearing from the system because there was no way of tracking them, the report said.

Committee members expressed concern women were "giving birth out in the bush".

Tasmania's child protection system was failing children and parents, the 288-page House of Assembly Select Committee Inquiry into Child Protection report released yesterday said.

The committee, which made 176 recommendations, also found a separate inquiry into the prostitution of a 12-year-old girl was not needed.

But it said: "The Attorney-General must immediately take such steps as required to satisfy himself that the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions to not prosecute other alleged offenders against the 12-year-old child was appropriate."

Among findings and recommendations are:

  • A growing number of children whose births were not registered
  • No parent should be denied legal help over custody after child is removed
  • Many children in out-of-home care were not regularly at school and half surveyed said they had nobody to turn to for homework help
  • A pilot specialised youth magistrate should be extended.
  • The committee recommended more early intervention for unborn and young babies.

"If an unborn baby alert is placed on an at-risk mother, there must be a tracking system to notify if the mother has not presented to a hospital for the birth," the report recommended.

The Salvation Army had reported they were seeing more children whose births were not registered.

Liberal MP Jacquie Petrusma queried the Department of Health and Human Services.

"Some of these 16-year-olds must be giving birth out in the bush because these kids are suddenly arriving into the system when they are months old."

The DHHS staffer said: "If we communicate there is an alert in place, we need to weigh up the possibility of the mother fleeing and hiding away from Child Protection."

The report urged that parents who had had babies removed at birth needed support.

Source: The Mercury (Australia)

Crown Thug

December 16, 2011 permalink

Pamela Palmer Attila, we had a ccw'er collecting signatures at the Newmarket courthouse today. Apparently the crown came out and physically attacked them. Police witnessed it and refused to lay charges.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

This report is corroborated by another witness:

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Jason Wallace While I was getting signatures at Newmarket court a crown attorney came outside and assaulted one of our protesters and kicked our clip boards across the ground and threw our papers all over. The police were present and witnessed the assault and did nothing. They would not give us the name of the crown and the police at the station would not take a report. I see that the changes that are coming are scaring some lol. I am going to the justice of the peace tomorrow to swear a private complaint to have the crown charged.


Jason Wallace

To: News Desk

While myself and a few members of the public were at Newmarket courts carrying out our lawful right to protest and ask for signatures for a petition to bring about accountability and oversight to the Children’s Aid Society of Ontario which are supported by the Ombudsman and several MPP’s, a crown attorney I have now learned his name is Kirk Dixon came outside and was very rude to a lady holding the clipboard and proceeded to slap the clipboard out of her hand and assault her. Mr. Dixon then kicked the clip board down the driveway of the courthouse sending all the literature including the petition onto the wet ground. This was all witnessed by the court officers. When the lady and I asked to have the person’s name the officers refused. We then asked to have him charged for assault and mischief. They refused. We were directed to Newmarket police station 1 district, who told us to fuck off in those words.

We are heading back to the Newmarket court to protest once again and to ask the justice of the peace to lay the charges.

Jason Wallace

647 920 5982

Source: Facebook (private posting)

Addendum: In a fantastic development, Jason Wallace has been charged with trespass for entering the courthouse.

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Jason Wallace

"" BREAKING NEWS ""

I was arrested today attempting to lay a private charge against the crown Kirk Dickson at Newmarket court. I was just released and charged with trespass to property. Got nowhere with the charge as you need the address of the accused in order for service in the information is issued.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Full Force

December 15, 2011 permalink

What is the CAS reaction when the see the pain they are causing a family? A smirk. Read this account from a participant in yesterday's CFSRB hearing. It introduces a new term for CAS family destruction: Full Force.

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Chad Wells I was at CFSRB hearing in Muskoka Ontario yesterday supporting a family that has had their young daughter torn from them by the Muskoka CAS. The father is an engineer in the Muskoka area and the stepmother is a school teacher.

When the family lodged a complaint with the CFSRB, the Muskoka CAS served them with court documents three hours after the CAS received confirmation that the complaint was lodged. (A very well-known tactic by the Muskoka CAS). There was never any mention of the mother and father being abusive towards the child until the CFSRB complaint was filed. Suspicious?

Although I can’t go into details of the hearing because it is still ongoing, I can say that the CAS was caught red handed in lie after lie after lie and the father did an amazing job with questioning the CAS.

I will mention one disturbing fact that came out of the meeting yesterday. The father pulled out a CAS case note that he presented to the board that stated “WE MUST GO FULL FORCE AGAINST MR. XXXXX”. At that time Mr. XXXXX broke down and started to cry and said: "I have not seen my daughter because they have gone 'full force' against me". The very disturbing part…….. When I looked at the CAS lawyer when the father was sobbing she had a smirk on her face. I could not believe what I was seeing. These people really don’t have a heart or any sort of compassion at all.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

pain looks great on other people

Legal Orphan

December 15, 2011 permalink

Single mother Jessica Aristizabal Calrasco is being deported to Columbia leaving her infant son Jonathan behind. The boy with a mother and father has become an orphan in the eyes of the law. He might wind up with his Canadian father, or in the custody of children's aid.

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Infant caught in custody dispute as mother faces deportation

Jessica Aristizabal Calrasco and son Jonathan
Jessica Aristizabal Calrasco, 19, claims she broke up with the baby's father in May after she refused an abortion.
NICHOLAS KEUNG/TORONTO STAR

A 9-week-old baby is at the centre of a custody fight between his Canadian father and refugee mother, who is facing deportation next month.

The dispute between Jessica Aristizabal Calrasco, 19, and Daniel Ricardo Velasquez, 21, raises the issue of what is best for their Canadian-born son, Jonathan, who is still being nursed by his mother.

“(The father) believes that it would be in the child’s best interest that he has sole custody,” Velasquez, an office cleaner and bartender, says in his written submission to Milton family court.

“The (father) is a Canadian citizen and the (mother) is not. The (father) is aware that it is likely that the (mother) may be deported to Colombia.”

Aristizabal, along with her mother Claudia, sister Marcela, and aunt, Veronica Torres, are scheduled to be deported Jan. 2 after their refugee claim was denied.

However, a Jan. 6 court date has been set in Milton family court to settle the custody dispute. If the mother is deported as scheduled, she will have to leave without the baby.

Richard Wazana, Aristizabal’s immigration lawyer, said a family court judge has jurisdiction in ordering a child not be removed from Canada, but the mother’s deportation is at the discretion of border enforcement. The mother is asking that her deportation be put on hold until the custody issue is settled.

“It is not a black and white issue. Having a Canadian-born child cannot stop a removal (of the mother),” Wazana said.

The mother, from Colombia, claims the couple broke up in May after she refused an abortion. Her ex-boyfriend, she says, showed little interest in being a father and was allegedly seeing other women while she was pregnant.

“I am the baby’s mother. I am still breastfeeding him. No one can separate us,” said Aristizabal.

The family arrived in Canada in 2008 via the United States. Aristizabal’s mother alleged FARC members killed her brother, a staff with the Administrative Department of Security, while he was probing the guerrilla group’s infiltration into the department.

Both Claudia Aristizabal and Torres, her sister-in-law, claimed they were kidnapped and raped by the assailants. Officials rejected their asylum claim in 2009 and an application to stay here on humanitarian grounds was denied.

The family was to be deported in October, but it was delayed due to Aristizabal’s imminent delivery.

Aristizabal claims that after learning of her pregnancy in February, Velasquez suggested she go for an abortion and then disappeared for two months until her mother notified his mother about the baby.

According to the father’s submission, Aristizabal and Velasquez, both from Burlington, met at a party and began dating in 2009. He claims that after the baby was born, he accompanied his ex on medical appointments and paid for the child’s necessities, but was denied access to the baby.

At Velasquez’s request, the family court has ordered a blood test to confirm that he is Jonathan’s biological father.

Aristizabal’s case has galvanized the support of staff and students at Corpus Christi Catholic Secondary School, where Claudia Aristizabal has worked as the head custodian since 2010.

“From a mother’s perspective, I can’t imagine how horrifying it is for Jessica to have the baby she has bonded ripped out of her life, knowing she may never see him again,” said teacher Melissa Broglio, who has three boys.

“Whether Jessica is 18, 28 or 38, the bottom line is she loves that little boy. Whether she is a teenage mom or not makes no difference.”

Staff at the school has raised more than $4,000 for the family’s legal fees, while students set up a Facebook page petitioning for family to stay.

“Canada has a policy to protect refugees and help them get on their feet. Claudia did not come here to take advantage of our generosity,” said Judy Caruso, financial secretary of the school.

“She works hard and contributes to our community. All she wants is a safe place for her family.”

Source: Toronto Star

Stamp Out Fathers

December 14, 2011 permalink

Britain's highest ranking judge complains that seven years in jail is not enough to dissuade parents from caring for their own children. He wants to hand out life sentences instead. The examples make it clear that fathers are his target.

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Parents who abduct children should face longer in prison, says top judge

Parents who abduct their own children could face life sentences because of the “unspeakable cruelty” they cause, the country’s most senior judge said yesterday.

Lord Igor Judge
Lord Judge said has called for tougher penalties for parents who abduct their own children.
Photo: PA

Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, dismissed a legal precedent that parents in such cases should not be charged with kidnap.

That could mean them facing life imprisonment instead of the current seven year maximum for child abduction.

Lord Judge said the maximum term for child abduction should also be increased because it currently does not meet “true justice”, especially for the other “loving parent” whose children are snatched away.

The call for a review came as he dismissed sentence appeals by two fathers who abducted their children and took them abroad "for very many years".

He said cases where fathers abducted children and took them abroad “have become increasingly troublesome”.

In one case, the children were away from their mother for so long that they now refuse to have contact with her.

Lord Judge said: “The abduction of children from a loving parent is an offence of unspeakable cruelty to the loving parent and to the child or children, whatever they may later think of the parent from whom they have been estranged as a result of the abduction.”

Ruling on a separate case in 1991, the Court of Appeal concluded that in cases where a parent abducts their child prosecutors should “avoid altogether charging anyone with child kidnapping”.

But sitting in the same court yesterday, Lord Judge said: “Our view is clear.

“Simply because the child has been abducted by a parent, given current conditions, it no longer necessarily follows that for policy reasons a charge of kidnapping must always be deemed inappropriate”.

He said the previous ruling “has no continuing authority” and asked the Law Commission, the Government’s legal advisers, to address the issue as part of its ongoing review of kidnap laws.

It paves the way for such parents being charged with kidnap and facing a possible life sentence.

Lord Judge also called for those convicted of child abduction to face longer terms by raising the maximum term available for such offences beyond the current seven years.

He said there were currently child abduction cases which "merit a sentence greater than the maximum current sentence of seven years imprisonment after a trial".

The "wide discrepancy" between sentences for kidnap and abduction offences under "seems illogical", he said

Sitting with Lord Justice McFarlane and Mr Justice Royce, Lord Judge said: "There are some cases of child abduction where, given the maximum available sentence, with or without the appropriate discount for a guilty plea, the available sentencing options do not meet the true justice of the case, properly reflective of the culpability of the offender, and the harm caused by the offence."

Such crimes result in “depriving the other parent of the joy of his or her children and depriving the children from contact with a loving parent with whom they no longer wish to communicate,” he said.

The court dismissed an appeal by Talib Hussein Kayani, 49, who pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to two offences of abducting a child and was sentenced in June to five years imprisonment.

The two sons, who were taken to Pakistan until 2009, have not seen their mother since 2000 and still refuse to have contact with her.

Madhat Solliman, 58, who pleaded guilty at Harrow Crown Court to three counts of abducting a child and was sentenced to three years jail in April, also lost his sentence appeal.

He abducted his three children in 2002 and took them to Egypt before returning in 2009.

Lord Judge stressed that abduction was an offence of "great seriousness" and in both cases the mothers had "suffered extreme emotional hardship".

He said: "The periods of abduction were prolonged, many years in duration, and the relationship with the mothers was irremediably damaged.

"In the case of the mothers, the hardship will be life long."

Lord Judge also called for tougher penalties for those who breach court order designed to prevent forced marriages, describing the current sentence of two years as "utterly inadequate".

The Home Office is currently consulting on whether to make forcing someone in to a marriage as a criminal offence in itself.

Lord Judge added that forcing someone to marry against their will also effectively results in them being raped.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Bullies

December 14, 2011 permalink

Today Scott Thompson of CHML AM900 in Hamilton discussed the case of Wesley, a nine-year-old boy relocated from Ontario to Oklahoma by his mother Kristin Gibson to escape bullying. The day she removed Wesley from his Niagara school children's aid opened a file on the family. Toward the end the discussion turned to CAS and two members of Canada Court Watch joined in, Bobbie Gellner and Chris York. In a case starting with juvenile bullies, the biggest bully of all is CAS. The podcast is in two parts, both mp3: [1] [2].

CPS bully

Social Work Professor Arrested

December 14, 2011 permalink

University of Oklahoma professor of social work Dwain Pellebon has been arrested for raping a child. "Courses Pellebon teaches focus on sexual behavior and values, problems in human relations and cultural diversity and oppression". Besides his teaching, he was active in several other parts of the child care system. This continues the pattern of respected authority figures in the child protection or child care system who turn out to be child abusers.

Caution: Unlike the recent Sandusky case in which allegations were supported by a grand jury hearing from multiple victims, the Pellebon allegation comes from a single accuser, and may be fabricated.

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OU professor faces child sex complaints

A University of Oklahoma professor has been arrested on child sex complaints. The professor has not been charged in Cleveland County District Court, but an investigation is continuing, police say

NORMAN — A University of Oklahoma professor who had worked with a child advocacy organization has been arrested on complaints of rape and lewd acts with a child, police said Tuesday.

Dwain Pellebon
Dwain Pellebon is seen in this image from his OU web page:
http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/P/Dwain.A.Pellebon-1/.

OU professor faces child sex complaints

Dwain Pellebon, 54, was arrested Friday on two complaints of rape and one complaint of lewd acts with a child younger than 16, Norman police Capt. Tom Easley said.

Pellebon was booked at the Cleveland County jail and released on $75,000 bail Friday.

He has not been charged in district court, Easley said, but an investigation continues.

Pellebon, an OU associate professor of social work, had been a member of the board of directors for the Cleveland County chapter of Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA, an organization that advocates for children in the juvenile court and foster systems.

Phone calls and emails to Pellebon on Tuesday were not returned.

Kathleen Romero, the executive director for Cleveland County CASA, said Pellebon went on a leave of absence from the board earlier this year.

The board will hold a special meeting Wednesday to make a decision on how to handle the matter, Romero said.

Professor is on paid administrative leave

OU spokeswoman Catherine Bishop said Pellebon had been placed on paid administrative leave. Pellebon could be moved to unpaid administrative leave as more details come to light, Bishop said.

While on leave, he is not allowed to contact OU students or use university facilities, she said.

Pellebon has been on family and medical leave since Oct. 5, Bishop said.

Donald Baker, OU School of Social Work academic director, said he could not comment on the allegations Tuesday but said the complaints are under investigation.

According to his curriculum vitae, which is a type of academic resume, Pellebon holds a bachelor's degree in social work from Southern University at New Orleans, as well as a master's degree in social work and a doctorate in social welfare from the University of Wisconsin — Madison.

Courses Pellebon teaches focus on sexual behavior and values, problems in human relations and cultural diversity and oppression.

His primary research interests include human sexuality, mental illness and ethnic identity, according to his curriculum vitae, which is posted on OU's website.

He also has served as the faculty adviser for the Undergraduate Students of Social Work Association and the OU chapter of the NAACP.

In addition, he has served as a mentor for Bridge Builders, an organization that works with black OU student athletes.

Source: NewsOK

Family Visits Poland

December 14, 2011 permalink

When Canadian Stephen Watkins and Polish wife Edyta divorced, a Canadian court awarded custody to father Stephen. But on a visit Edyta absconded with the children and her whereabouts remained unknown for two and a half years. The mother and children have been found in Warsaw Poland where the mother is living under her maiden name Ustaszewska. She has turned the children against their father.

In cases where a parent absconds with a child claimed by children's aid, Canada does everything possible to return the child and extradite the parent. For example, Marie-Emilie Chartier: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]. Efforts don't seem so thorough in this case. Tomorrow a Polish judge will decide whether to return the boys to Canada. The mother is under no restraint, and if the ruling goes against her, she can abduct the children again.

In the Canadian parliament British Columbia MP Jinny Sims questioned minister Diane Ablonczy (mp4) about the Watkins family.

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Stephen Watkins, Christopher Watkins, and Alexander Watkins
Christopher Watkins, 7, Alexander, 10 and father Stephen shown together in Warsaw, Poland. After two years spent searching for his missing sons, Mr. Watkins hopes a Polish court will let them come home.

Extradition

Custody fight abroad is a ‘losing battle’, dad says

Stephen Watkins had spent two and a half years dreaming of the reunion he’d have with his sons, who, along with Mr. Watkins’s estranged wife, went missing from their Toronto home in 2009.

But when Mr. Watkins was finally reunited with his boys in late November, the encounter was bittersweet: he said they were distant, angry and confused.

Alexander and Christopher Watkins, it is alleged, were driven by their maternal grandfather from Toronto to Detroit, flew with their mother to Germany and travelled from there to Poland in March 2009.

In 2010, the RCMP added the boys’ mother, Edyta Watkins (who was allegedly going by her maiden name, Ustaszewski, in Poland), to its most-wanted list and issued a Canada-wide warrant for her arrest.

“It’s one thing when your children go missing in a city or in a province, let alone a country. Trying to find your kids internationally is incredibly difficult,” Mr. Watkins said in an interview Sunday from Poland.

This summer, he learned his sons were found living with their mother in Warsaw. Canada does not have an extradition treaty with Poland so the Polish government has not sent Ms. Watkins back to Canada.

Despite having won full custody of his children in an Ontario court almost three years ago, Mr. Watkins is now in Poland waging a custody battle against his wife all over again.

In March 2009, during one of her twice-a-month court-ordered weekend visitations, Ms. Watkins allegedly fled the country with her sons. Mr. Watkins, who said he had feared for years his wife might abduct their children, had added his children to a few missing children database watch lists as a precaution.

The boys’ school called one Monday morning to let him know they were absent.

“As soon as I got that call I knew the abduction was happening,” he said.

Without full recognition of the Canadian charges against his wife, Mr. Watkins said, the custody battle has become a matter of he said/she said.

He said his wife has “brainwashed” his children into fearing him. The handful of visits Polish courts have granted him with his sons have been unpleasant.

Staff from Foreign Affairs and the Canadian embassy in Poland have aided him in his mission to get his children back, he said. Representatives from the embassy have sat in on every court date.

In his view, York Regional Police (Mr. Watkins lives in Newmarket), the RCMP and Foreign Affairs have done all they can, but it isn’t enough. He has sent multiple letters to the Prime Minister in hopes that he will make an official request to the Polish government to send the children back to Canada.

Staff from the Prime Minister’s Office could not be reached for comment.

A judge is expected to make a decision on Dec. 15, but Mr. Watkins isn’t optimistic about the outcome either way.

“Because they’re still in the care and custody of my ex-wife, if the courts order my sons back to Canada, they can disappear. So it seems as though I’m doing a losing battle here either way,” he said.

After his children went missing, Mr. Watkins he scaled back his work in marketing to build a social media campaign to track down his children. In the past few weeks in Poland, he said he’s spent about $20,000 in transportation, legal fees, translation of court documents and hiring a security guard to accompany him on court-ordered visits with his children. It reveals the most frustrating thing about child abduction cases, he said.

“The cost to find missing kids falls on the left-behind parent.”

Source: Globe and Mail

Edyta's wanted poster:

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Edyta WATKINS

Wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for Abduction

Edyta Watkins
Edyta Watkins

On March 9th, 2009, a report was made to York Regional Police that children Alexander and Christopher WATKINS had been abducted by their mother, Edyta WATKINS. On April 2nd, 2009, a Canada-wide warrant was issued for Edyta Watkins for abduction. Investigation has revealed that the mother took the children to the United States where they boarded a plane and flew to Germany. Edyta Watkins has connections in Warsaw, Poland, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and the United States. It is believed that the mother and children are currently in Poland.

Description

  • White Female
  • Date of birth: 1973-11-17
  • Height: 5'08" (173 cm)
  • Weight: 155 lbs (70 kg)
  • Hair: Brown
  • Eyes: Blue
  • Distinctive Characteristics:
    • Tattoos:
      • Lower back: Tribal design
      • Abdomen: Scorpion
  • Alias:
    • Ustaszewski, Edyt

TAKE NO ACTION TO APPREHEND THIS PERSON YOURSELF.

Working in conjunction with York Regional Police Service.

pdf iconPoster (414 KB)

Warning: Take no action to apprehend these persons yourself. Report any information to the nearest RCMP detachment or the police in your area or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. In the province of Québec, please call Info-Crime Québec at 1-800-711-1800.

Source: RCMP

Addendum: The Polish judge ordered that the children remain in Poland.

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Watkins Missing Children RE: ALEXANDER & CHRISTOPHER WATKINS

A Polish Judge ordered my two sons to STAY in Poland after being Internationally Abducted by their non-custodial Mother, using a "Cancelled" Canadian Passport to enter the U.S. then Germany, over 2.5 years ago and confirmed to be in hiding in Poland. Canada had already issued world-wide Interpol "Red Notice" for her apprehension which Polish government failed to act upon. My children are NOT coming home to Canada and are being left with the Abducting Mother in Poland who the Court recommends to continue to "Limit" her parental authority and assign a Court Guardian to the case and my sons. As you can understand, I am not feeling well, I am frustrated along with being very sad - I don't know what to say except that - I AM NOT GIVING UP ON MY SONS! I need everyone's support along with all your friends and the support of the Prime Minister and the Federal Government of Canada to send a STRONG message to the country of Poland in this complete injustice. An Appeal is being launched tomorrow. Due to Polish-to-English language translations, please give me a few days to consult with my lawyer and other experts before I can release a Press Release. I Love my sons and I thank you for ALL your support to help Bring Home Alexander & Christopher Watkins.

'Watkins Missing Children'

The Grandfather's Criminal Trial, who has been arrested and charged by York Regional Police with assisting in the International Child Abduction of my sons, continues on January 6, 2012 in Newmarket, Ontario.

Please HELP by inviting friends to this Facebook Page & Group:

FACEBOOK PAGE: http://www.facebook.com/Watkins.Missing.Children

FACEBOOK GROUP: (Share Links & Leave Comments) http://www.facebook.com/groups/206028506119189/

Source: Facebook

Chad Wells has scheduled a Rally to bring home ALEXANDER & CHRISTOPHER WATKINS to take place at the Polish Consulate Toronto, 2603 Lake Shore Boulevard West (east of Royal York Road) on Thursday December 22 from 11 am to 3 pm. For more, refer to Facebook.

Addendum: Here is news of the rally, along with some online postings by the mother Edyta Ustaszewska. There is a video of Stephen Watkins (mp4) at the rally and a related video of grandfather Ted Ustaszewski (mp4).

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Stephen Watkins at polish consulate

This afternoon a group of Canadians gathered at the Polish Embassy in Toronto to bring awareness about two Toronto boys who are part of a parental abduction.

Christopher and Alexander Watkins now live in Warsaw, Poland with their mother who took the boys illegally out of Canada two and a half years ago. Their father, Stephen Watkins, recently returned from Warsaw where a judge ignored the Hague Convention, allowing the boys to remain with their mother.

The rally was a peaceful process to bring awareness that Canadian children are not being allowed to return to their home here in Toronto.

Stephen Watkins was joined by Attila Vinczer who has been advocating on his benefit with European sources.

“We have two countries, both Canada and Poland, that officials have recognized that the kids are not doing well yet Poland refuses to allow the kids to come home,” said Vinczer.

The mother managed to leave Canada, the United States and into Europe on suspended identification during the middle of a parental abduction.


Stephen you are a sick person. The children are happy here in Poland. They don,t want to have anything to do with you. Alex right now is dictating that he wants you to leave him alone. Alex said “stop being a jerk we love our mother she is the best we love her forever and ever and ever and ever”. Stop blaming the Polish court, you are wrong they didn’t ignore the Hauge Convention the judge just used his intelligence to determine what is the best interest of the children. Too bad that you are not able to understand and use the same brain power.
Edyta

Source: newz4u.net


Edyta Ustaszewska leave my father alone. He has been nothing but a good citizen, a loving and caring father and grandfather. First check all your sources before you start dragging someone's good name through the dirt. I take all the resposibility for my actions. Keep up your mudslinging and you and your employer will awnser in court. What you are doing is wrong. Stephen is the wolf hidding in sheep's clothing.

Edyta Ustaszewska First , don't call my father a lying child abduction accomplice. Second you misspelled our family surname. Third , don't think Stephen is innocent. The children clearly stated their preference to stay with me including talking to a court psychologist about the harm that their "father" caused them over the years. My children are young but very intelligent and emotional. Again I say if they wanted to return to Canada they have the free will to do so. I however will not be returning to Canada anytime soon since Stephen red flagged me along with the unfair Canadian authorities which includes the court system. As far as my father goes he is innocent. Back off

Source: Facebook

More photos: [1] [2] [3] [4]. One of the participants got this note from his teacher the next day: Mrs Irwin.

Addendum: Charles Adler interviewed Stephen Watkins, June 2012. YouTube and local copy (mp4).

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International Parental Child Abduction - Canada Fighting to Get Kidnapped Kids Back from Poland

CHARLES ADLER (Sun News Media) Interview with Stephen Watkins - International Parental Child Abduction - The non-custodial mother of Stephen Watkins' children kidnapped the two boys from Canada and fled to Poland without custody. He's now fighting to get them back from Poland. The Polish Courts have refused to return the Canadian Children back to Canada using a loop hole of the Hague Convention Treaty.

After being Missing and searching for two and a half years, the two little boys were located in Warsaw, Poland as a result of a Polish School taking the abducting mother, Edyta Ustaszewska (Watkins) to Court to limit her parental rights due to child protection concerns and sending a court summons to the father to appear in Polish court but delayed telling the father by 11-months.

The Polish Court taking this action had NO idea that another Polish Court Ordered Polish Police to search Poland-wide in January 2010 for these Missing / Abducted children known through social media as the "Watkins Missing Children" and that the two boys were already flagged by the Polish Police, the recognized Polish National Missing Children organization "ITAKA", Europe's INTERPOL and the Canadian National Police (RCMP) as internationally abducted children.

The RCMP as issued a Canada-wide alert for Edyta Watkins (Ustaszewka) and her profile appears on the RCMP's Canada's Most Wanted online. Canada has also issued a world-wide INTERPOL "Red Notice" for her apprehension and "Yellow Notices" for the abducted boys.

In December 2011, the Polish Hague Convention court denied returning the Canadian boys back to Canada. Stephen Watkins appealed this case and on May 29, 2012 another Polish Court dismissed the appeal and denied the return of two Missing / Abducted Canadian children back to Canada from Poland.

Even the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper and the Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk were asked a questions by the media on this high profile International Child Abduction case while both in Ottawa.

The father had already been granted sole custody of Alexander and Christopher Watkins, in January 2009 by the Canadian Courts prior to their kidnapping due to child protection concerns reported by a Canadian School as they realized that Edyta Ustaszewska (Watkins) was physically and mentally abusing the boys while in her care. The boys were apprehended by the Canadian Courts and by the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto and taken away from the mother and the two boys had already been living with the father since 2007.

The two Canadian boys which were 4 years and 7 years old when abducted from Canada in March 2009 by their non-custodial mother, Edyta Ustaszewska ( Watkins ), using a Canceled Canadian Passport and the children's Canadian Passports which were repeatedly Ordered by the Ontario Courts to be handed over in what Canada's National Police ( RCMP ) stated in 2010 as one of Canada's worst International Child Abduction from Canada.

The father of the abducting mother has been arrested and charged for assisting in the abduction which is still before the criminal courts in Ontario, Canada.

The father plans to appeal this case in the European Union Courts.

Source: YouTube

Happy Birthday Ayn

December 13, 2011 permalink

Ayn Van Dyk was snatched by British Columbia MCFD after wandering from home, and has been in their custody ever since [1] [2]. Tomorrow a balloon release is scheduled for her birthday. A few balloons have already been released a day early. For more information, see Justice for Ayn or click on the source link.

Balloons for Ayn
click for larger image

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Ombudsman in the CFSA

December 13, 2011 permalink

While the ombudsman has long noted that his powers do not extend to Ontario's children's aid societies, John Dunn has found a provision in the Child and Family Services Act allowing children in care to speak to the ombudsman.

Rights of Children in Care

Rights of communication, etc.

103. (1) A child in care has a right,

  1. to speak in private with, visit and receive visits from members of his or her family regularly, subject to subsection (2);
  2. to speak in private with and receive visits from,
    1. the child’s solicitor,
    2. another person representing the child, including the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth,
    3. the Ombudsman appointed under the Ombudsman Act and members of the Ombudsman’s staff, and
    4. a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario or of the Parliament of Canada; and
  3. to send and receive written communications that are not read, examined or censored by another person, subject to subsections (3) and (4). R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 103 (1); 2007, c. 9, s. 25 (2); 2009, c. 2, s. 8 (1).

Source: Child and Family Services Act

Here is Mr Dunn's letter to André Marin (pdf) requesting his opinion on the provision.

Below Ottawa This Week profiles John Dunn.

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Standing up for current, former foster kids

John Dunn
STANDING UP FOR FOSTER KIDS. John Dunn is a former foster child and is executive director of an organization that advocates for other children and former children of the children’s aid system.
Photo submitted

When John Dunn was only 18 months old, he was taken away from his mother who had attempted suicide. He and his siblings were split up, and Dunn was put into the foster care system.

The first home he lived in until he was five years old was pretty good. But in later homes, he faced years of abuse from his foster parents.

Fast forward to 2002 and Dunn was 32 years old. He found himself suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and emotional issues. He lived an unstable life, and by age 32, he had held about 60 jobs and had moved around more than 40 times.

He was looking for some sense of stability, so he got help from a mental health professional and asked the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto to send him copies of his personal records from his time in the system, but to this day, he still doesn’t have those records.

That’s why the west-end resident started the Foster Care Council of Canada, a group that helps former foster children find their own personal records and promote foster care system awareness campaigns.

“We’re focused on issues that need to be fixed,” said Dunn. “We’re trying to look at things we know of that are in need of repair or need work.”

Since the organization started about 10 years ago, Dunn said he and members have tried to make several changes at the provincial level to help former and current foster children. Also, he said the group has helped create guidance books and manuals for foster kids who might feel like they’re in an unsafe situation.

In addition, he said the group helps provide support to current and former foster children who want to file complaints and make criminal injury compensation claims resulting from their time in foster care.

Dunn knows this abuse first hand, which he describes in a documentary he made back in 2002. Living at a foster home in Trout Creek Ontario, near North Bay, until he was nine years old, he remembers the abuse he suffered at the hands of the home’s father figure.

He was a bed wetter, and as punishment his foster father would make him sit on the surface of the family’s wood burning stove when he had an accident. One night, his foster father opened the door of the stove and pushed Dunn head-first into the burning coals, until he begged and screamed that he wouldn’t do it again.

Dunn also witnessed his biological brother, who was also living in the house, being abused.

While he remembers the bad stories and wants to help former foster kids who were in similar situations, he also fondly remembers the first foster home he lived in.

“There’s definitely good stories out there too,” Dunn acknowledged. “We’re not an anti-Children’s Aid group. But we try and look at things that we know need repair.”

Today, the west-end resident is executive director of the Foster Care Council of Canada and he has kept in touch with his siblings.

“It’s a great family relationship, and we get along amazingly,” Dunn said. “Emotionally now I feel fine, but it’s taken a lot of work.”

For more information on the Foster Care Council of Canada, visit its website at www.afterfostercare.ca .

Source: Ottawa This Week

Recording for Justice

December 13, 2011 permalink

Vern Beck profiles the late Justice Howland, who directed Ontario's courts to allow recording devices in the courtroom.

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It’s time for the legal establishment to end its disrespect for one of Ontario’s greatest jurists, former Ontario Chief Justice W.G.C. Howland

William Goldwin Carrington Howland (March 17, 1915 – May 13, 1994) was a respected lawyer, judge and the former Chief Justice of Ontario.

Born and raised in Toronto, Justice Howland attended Upper Canada College in his earlier years and graduated from the University of Toronto in 1936.

Shortly afterwards he attended Osgoode Hall to study for his law degree and afterwards was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1939.

In 1975, Howland was appointed a Judge to the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Ontario and two years later was appointed as the Chief Justice of Ontario where he remained in this position until his retirement in 1992.

William Goldwin Carrington Howland
This photo of Howland was taken sometime in the 1930’s before he was called to the Ontario Bar in 1939.

Justice Howland believed in transparency in the administration of Justice

Throughout his active legal career, Justice Howland gained widespread recognition for his strong belief in the rule of law and his dedication to the advancement of the administration of justice for the benefit of all.

After faithfully serving the people of Ontario for approximately 20 years as the Chief Justice of Ontario, in a bold and decisive decision on April 10, 1989, Chief Justice Howland issued a historic Practice Directive to all Ontario Courts which reaffirmed the right of the citizens of Ontario to audio record their own court hearing under Section 136(2)(b) of Ontario's Courts of Justice Act which even today reads, “nothing prohibits a lawyer, a party acting in person or a journalist from unobtrusively making an audio recording at a court hearing, in the manner that has been approved by the judge, for the sole purpose of supplementing or replacing handwritten notes. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43, s. 136 (2); 1996, c. 25, s. 1 (22).”

Justice Howland’s directive to his fellow jurists and to all court administrators was clearly intended to bolster the public’s respect for the administration of Justice by promoting greater openness and transparency in the courts of Ontario.

In his Directive to all courts, Chief Justice Howland ordered Ontario’s courts to stop harassing the citizens of Ontario in respect to audio recording and to respect the right of the citizens granted under section 136(2)(b) of Ontario’s Courts of Justice Act to audio record their own court proceedings using their own audio recording devices without having to make oral or written arguments before the presiding judge.

Howland’s Directive stated, “Subject to any order made by the presiding judge as to non-publication of court proceedings, and to the right of the presiding judge to give such directions from time to time as he or she may see fit as to the manner in which an audio recording may be made at a court hearing pursuant to s. 146 [now s. 136] of the Courts of Justice Act, the unobtrusive use of a recording device from the body of the courtroom by a solicitor, a party acting in person, or a journalist for the sole purpose of supplementing or replacing handwritten notes”

The only discretion that judges were to have under the Courts of Justice Act was with the manner in which citizens before the court could audio record their own court hearings.

Back at the time when the Courts of Justice Act was made law, recording devices were bulky, heavy and required power cords in order to operate, so it was not unreasonable for judges to be given some discretion with the “manner” of recording so that equipment and power cords could be physically located in a manner so as to not obstruct court proceedings.

Many at the time considered Justice Howland's directive to the courts as one of his most notable contributions to promoting transparency in the courts and protecting the rights of self represented individuals before the courts in Ontario.

Over his career, Justice Howland made so many notable contributions to society and the advancement of the administration of justice that two years after he issued his historic practice directive to the courts about audio recording, he was awarded the Order of Ontario in 1991, and a year later in 1992, the Order of Canada.

Howland received many awards and honours during his career including international recognitions as the National President of the United Nations Association in Canada.

Many in the legal system have lost their understanding of the law

Tragically today, many in the legal system do not even know who Justice Howland is or know of his great contributions to the legal community and to the people of Ontario and of Canada during his career.

In spite of former Chief Justice Howland’s notable It time for the legal establishment to end its disrespect to Justice W.G.C. Howland contributions to the administration of justice, many judges, lawyers and court administrators, outright defy and make of mockery of Section 136(2) of the Courts of Justice Act by misleading and routinely threatening the citizens of Ontario who attempt to exercise their rights under the law. Some examples include:

  • In Hamilton, Ontario, a judge permitted a self represented party to audio record but ordered that the tape recorder be surrendered to court staff at the end of the court hearing until the resumption of proceedings at the next scheduled court proceeding.
  • In London, Ontario, a citizen was arrested, handcuffed right in the courtroom and taken out like a criminal when he brought his recording device into the court to supplement his notes in his own hearing. The man was later released and charges dropped after the Crown Attorney admitted that the man was wrongfully arrested and detained.
  • A number of citizens have reported being harassed and threatened by Peel Regional Police security staff at the Brampton, Ontario court. Self represented citizens were turned away and told to take their audio recording devices back outside and to leave them in their cars.

There are many examples over the past decade where the citizens of Ontario have been threatened and intimidated by courthouse security forces and by judges over the simple right to audio record.

In spite of the fear of recording devices by many jurists some such as Justice Craig Perkins and Justice Backhouse have in the past respected the law and allowed recording in their courts.

Even today, signs posted by the Attorney General at most courthouses continue to intentionally mislead the public by stating that recording devices are prohibited but conveniently do not inform the public of their rights under section 136(2)(b) of the Act.

Police officers at some courthouses are routinely misdirected about the law by senior court administrators and instructed that recording devices are banned and to not allow the devices in the courtroom.

Rather than upholding the law and protecting the citizens as they are supposed to do, many police officers are mindlessly breaking their oath and helping those administering the courts with an iron fist to obstruct justice and to violate the lawful rights of the citizens.

By misinforming and harassing the citizens of Ontario the legal establishment is in effect bringing disrepute to the Administration of Justice and tarnishing the reputation and good work of former Chief Justice Howland who made it very clear when he was in charge that the rights of the citizens of Ontario under law was not to be obstructed by anyone, not even the judges.

Signs that positive changes are coming

With the advancement in personal recording technology, the discretion of a judge over the “manner” in which a recording is done in the courtroom has become redundant in today’s world.

Digital recorders are very tiny and unobtrusive, silent, will record for hours without changing batteries and have microphones built right in to them.

High quality recordings can be obtained just by placing the device on the table in front of the parties.

Recently, on December 6, 2011 I attended the Huntsville, Ontario court to hear a case involving a self represented person who was in court against a senior Crown Attorney.

Outside of the courtroom door was one of the same signs posted at most courthouses intended to mislead the public which states that audio recording was prohibited but with no mention of Section 136(2)(b) of the Act.

However, in spite of the shamefully misleading sign posted at the courtroom door, I was pleasantly surprised inside when The Honourable Justice George Beatty refused to accept the lame objections of the senior Crown Attorney from Muskoka, Ted Carlton, and made it clear that the right of the self represented parties under Section 136(2)(b) of the Courts of Justice Act to audio record the proceeding would be respected in his court.

Compared to some of the shenanigans that other judges and lawyers have displayed in the courts over the issue of audio recording, it was refreshing to see Justice Beatty give his unwavering respect to the law and to protect the rights of a self represented person before him in his court.

In light of what appears in recent years to be a renewed resistance to audio recording in the courts and the revelation that official court transcripts are being tampered with, the importance of recording devices for accurate note taking is even more important.

The Attorney General should immediately order that all of the misleading signs at the courthouses should be ripped down and effective steps taken to stop the blatant obstruction of Justice to the Courts of Justice Act.

Justice Howland knew back in 1989 what was just for the citizens of Ontario and he set the example by acting decisively on behalf of the people of Ontario.

Even today, the good name of Justice Howland lives on. Students who achieve excellence in their law studies are given generous scholarships though the Hon. William G. C. Howland Award of Excellence Entrance Scholarship fund which has been made possible through a gift from the estate of the late Justice Howland.

It’s time for judges, lawyers, court workers and all in the legal establishment pay their due respect to Justice W.G.C. Howland as well as to the people of Ontario by following Justice Howland’s lead to make the courts more open, transparent and affordable to the citizens of Ontario.

Source: Canada Court Watch

Snatching Aliens

December 12, 2011 permalink

Christopher Booker reports that British social workers target foreigners for child snatching.

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British social workers pursue a harsh foreign policy

The horrors of 'child protection' as it is often practised now - particularly on foreign children - would be a theme for a latter-day Dickens.

child taken into care
More children than ever have been taken into care, while the number adopted keeps falling
Photo: ALAMY

Last week, I spoke to an anguished Russian mother who recently escaped to Germany with her young son, because British social workers were threatening to take the boy into care.

Until last month, they lived happily together here, but one evening the mother, temporarily depressed for work reasons, poured out her troubles to a stranger she met in a park. Next day, this well-meaning lady contacted the local social workers, hoping they might be able to help the family. Within hours, social workers were at the house, coldly suggesting that it might be best for them to draw up a “care plan”.

Alarmed at their tone, the mother fled with her son, to stay with her mother in Germany. In her absence she was summoned to court and threatened that, unless she brought her son back, her assets might be seized (she owns a house) and she might even be imprisoned.

On arriving in Germany, she had contacted the local social workers, who saw that the boy was happy and in good care. Their English counterparts, though, are now talking of going to Germany to arrange for him to be brought back to England. The mother would love to bring him back herself, if only this mess could be sorted out in a sensible fashion. But she is terrified that if she returns she will be put in prison.

A recurring feature in the dozens of cases I have investigated involving the desire of social workers to remove children from their families on what can seem the flimsiest of grounds, is how many of these families are foreign. Not unnaturally, after their children have been seized, they would be happy to return abroad, if they could do so with their children. But what is striking is how determined the social workers can be to keep the children here, at huge expense to British taxpayers.

Cases that I have been following include that of another Russian mother, whose 14-year-old daughter cannot understand why they are not allowed to leave this strange, hostile country to live in France. There are also two French children who only wish to return home to France with their father. I have had contact with Lithuanian, Slovak and Polish families, torn apart for what seem wholly inadequate reasons, in a similar plight. Another husband and wife have pleaded for over a year to be allowed to return with their children to Africa, where their case has become a cause célèbre in the local press.

In all these cases, the children are miserable in foster care and would be only too happy to go abroad with their parents. Similarly, when some British parents have fled to Ireland to avoid their children being seized, English social workers seem determined to bring the children back forcibly, often to the astonishment of their Irish counterparts who are entirely satisfied with how the children are being looked after.

In one tragic case, a bright teenage boy, happy and thriving at an Irish school, was deported back to England, to be placed quite inappropriately in a “special needs” school where he is unmercifully bullied.

Such are the mysteries of our “family protection” system. Why, if its purpose is to protect the interests of children, are they forced, in these cases, to live unhappily with strangers, when they wish only to be reunited with the parents they love? And why, when children are old enough to speak for themselves, do judges so often refuse them that right, disregarding their wishes in the most arrogantly cold-hearted way?

A latter-day Dickens would not be writing about orphans in workhouses. He would be exposing the callous horrors of “child protection” as it is too often practised in our own time.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

foreign children

Sexing Up

December 12, 2011 permalink

Did social workers exaggerate claims when reporting on your family? In the UK (and surely elsewhere as well) higher-ups ordered them to. A whistleblower says social workers are regularly “sexing up” dossiers on problem parents.

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SOCIAL WORKERS 'SEX UP ABUSE CLAIMS TO SNATCH CHILDREN FOR ADOPTION'

Baby P
The whistleblower said auth­orities’ worries of another Baby P had created a climate of fear

SOCIAL workers are regularly “sexing up” dossiers on problem parents to remove children into care and even to farm them out for adoption, a whistleblower reveals today.

The experienced social worker told a Sunday Express investigation that council managers are frequently putting pressure on him and colleagues to rewrite reports considered “too positive”.

They are demanding “more dirt” on mothers and fathers to increase the chances of securing court orders that place their children into care and which boost councils’ Ofsted ratings.

The whistleblower said the worry of having another Baby P on an authority’s hands had created a climate of fear that was destroying innocent families.

The findings were last night described as a “national scandal” by one MP who is now demanding a full Parliamentary inquiry into Britain’s child protection system.

Lib Dem John Hemming will raise the issue when he appears at the Education Select Committee on Tuesday.

The committee’s chairman, Graham Stuart, has indicated he would talk to our whistleblower in confidence.

The whistlebower said the behaviour of social workers has been dramatically and “needlessly” changed since the full details over the 2007 death of Baby Peter Connelly in Haringey, north London, emerged three years ago.

He said there is now a new culture of fear in which the buck of responsibility is continuously passed up the managerial chain.

He said people in desperate need of help with their parenting skills are instead having their lives ruined by bureaucrats who fear being blamed for a highly unlikely case of extreme abuse.

Courts sitting away from the public glare are then increasingly being asked to make life-changing decisions based on “biased” evidence, he claimed.

Latest figures show that social workers, already overstretched due to Government cuts, are dealing with rapidly rising caseloads with 42,700 children now on child protection plans.

Social workers say this is largely due to political pressure after the Baby P case.

David Cameron has said there are too many children in care and that the adoption process needs streamlining, but critics say the real issue is about why so many youngsters are taken into care in the first place.

The whistleblower, a father who works for a large authority in the south of England, said: “We’re being pressured to go against what we think is right for families.

“Personally, I’ve written reports and been told, ‘You are too positive with this family, we’ll never get it to court unless you make it more negative’.

“I’ve actually been told that.

“Although it goes against what you feel is right, you feel under an obligation.

“Children need to be in their families and we need to support them as much as possible and only if there are great risks do you take a child out of a family.”

When asked for an example, he said: “In order to get a child through to a child protection conference, we’re told to make the situation look bad and worse than it actually is.

“We don’t necessarily make things up, but we can change the emphasis.

“It’s subtle. I had one child aged about eight. I’d prepared a report with the emphasis saying that the parents were prepared to make changes and that their attitude was willing.

“But then I was told this was too positive, we’d never get it through.

“I was told to bring out more of the negative points, so I had to concentrate on the lack of cleanliness of the house. That put the parents in a bad light.”

He said these reports were used to take children out of a family home and in many cases then placed for adoption.

He added: “It destroys families. But the newer, younger social workers see this as the norm, they just want to toe the line with their bosses and that’s worrying.”

The whistleblower also raised serious concerns about council-appointed psychologists who he believes are biased in favour of their paymasters.

In particular, he said he had doubts over what he said were nebulous concepts of emotional abuse and “attachment theories”.

He said: “These psychologists create such a high standard of for parenting that most of us would fail.”

MP John Hemming said: “I congratulate the Sunday Express in unearthing this national scandal.

“A number of whilstleblowers have come to me to explain how expert evidence is at times sexed up and at other times plainly wrong in the Family Courts.

“Taking the wrong children into care on the basis of sexed up dossiers and meaningless psychobabble results in other children being left to die such as Baby P.

“Parliament must act to sort out the child protection system.”

Nishra Mansuri, of the British Association of Social Workers, recognised the whistleblower’s comments and said: “It’s a major concern. The cuts are creating so much pressure for social workers that the right decisions are not being taken.

“We’re storing up so many problems, but the odds are against us.”

Source: Daily Express

Relief for Rebecca

December 10, 2011 permalink

Rebecca Davidson was taken into foster care in February 2009 by the Children's Aid Society of the Region of Waterloo for four months. On May 20, 2011 she testified before the provincial parliament about her ordeal. Even before that testimony, her family had petitioned for relief to the Child and Family Services Review Board, where they got a favorable decision in August 2009 ordering Waterloo CAS to provide detailed written reasons to the Applicant on:

  1. Reasons for the children’s placements in foster care and the group home
  2. Reasons why the children were separated in care.
  3. Reasons why options regarding J.’s birthday/Easter weekend were not canvassed and why the decision was conveyed at the last minute and reasons why there was no make up visit.
  4. Reasons why restrictions in the group home were not addressed
  5. The decision and reasons relating to approval of Aunt R. as driver and reasons as to why the information was not given to the Applicant.
  6. Reasons why the Applicant could not be on the same bus as R.G., what other options were considered, if any and why it took so long to put an alternative in place.
  7. Reasons why kinship placements with Aunt D.M. and the Applicant’s mother, P.D. were refused.
  8. Reasons for delay in terms of exploring kinship options.
  9. Reasons why R.G. did not see the counsellor as scheduled.

In the decision, Rebecca is referred to as R.G. (her father's surname) and Mr C. is family friend and advocate Chris Carter.

An appeal to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice resulted in the CFSRB decision being set aside. But the Court of Appeal for Ontario reinstated the CFSRB decision.

CAS doesn't give up, and further appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. On December 8 that court dismissed the case with the brief note: The application for leave to appeal is dismissed with costs to the respondent D.D.. The decision of the CFSRB is left intact. No further appeal is possible, and CAS now has to provide the answers required by the original CFSRB decision. It will be interesting to see the next step.

Addendum: Chris Carter reports that Rebecca's family now has a lawyer and is suing Waterloo CAS for $3 million.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

CPS Soldiers Honored

December 9, 2011 permalink

Chandler Grafner
Chandler Grafner, age 2

Have you ever heard of a soldier being punished for killing an enemy? Of course not. Soldiers get a medal for doing that. Social services react the same way when a social worker places a child in foster care, even when that placement results in the death of the child.

In today's case, social workers sent Chandler Grafner to his death by placing him in a Denver foster home, then ignoring reports of abuse in that home. The courts have ruled that workers Margaret Booker and Mary Peagler can be sued by Chandler's family for their roles in Chandler's death. Denver Human Services has come to their defense and based on past experience will leave no stone unturned in the effort. For one past case, look at Denise C Moore in Indiana.

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Denver Human Services defends two caseworkers sued over child's starvation death

Two social workers who were supervising 7-year-old Chandler Grafner's case before he starved to death are still working for Denver Human Services.

Margaret Booker and Mary Peagler are supervisors with the child welfare division of DHS, said agency spokeswoman Revekka Balancier.

Booker supervises the foster care and adoptive family recruitment and support efforts, and Peagler supervises interns and the family visitation program.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William J. Martinez denied a motion to dismiss a wrongful-death lawsuit filed against them by Chandler's estate and his biological parents.

The judge noted that the neglect of Chandler by social services was "conscience-shocking" and that a complaint of child abuse made by a teacher's aide a month before the boy's May 6, 2007, death wasn't thoroughly explored by DHS.

Balancier defended the caseworkers, saying DHS is made up of hundreds of caseworkers and support staff who make it their life's work to help keep children safe.

"The death of a child at the hands of an abuser is a terrible and tragic loss for our community and is deeply felt by every member of our staff," she wrote in an e-mail. "We have confidence that each of our workers performs their duties with grave attention to the safety needs of children, compassion for families who are in crisis and experienced decision making in the complex task of making sure our children's needs are being met."

At the time of Chandler's death, Booker was responsible for investigating claims related to child maltreatment and deciding whether further investigation was warranted. Peagler was in charge of Chandler's case file.

In their motion to dismiss, they claimed that the Jefferson County Department of Human Services was legally responsible for Chandler's care because that agency initially placed him with stepfather Jon Phillips, who abused him.

Martinez disagreed that DHS caseworkers were not directly responsible for Chandler's care.

The judge cited a previous 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling regarding a wrongful-death lawsuit against a caseworker in New Mexico who was in charge of overseeing the adoption of a girl with severe spina bifida.

The 3-year-old girl, Grace Bogey, was beaten to death weeks after her adoption and complaints raised by her nurse, who suspected she was being abused.

In that case, the 10th Circuit overturned a lower court's decision to dismiss a lawsuit against the girl's caseworker who failed to conduct a home visit when the girl's grandfather moved in and the living situation changed.

Martinez said that case was "remarkably similar" to Chandler's case, though he noted that in his view the Denver case was even more egregious in that DHS received complaints from Chandler's school and failed to investigate.

"Chandler died from starvation and dehydration and, at the time of his death was twenty pounds underweight for his age," Martinez wrote in his opinion. "These injuries, by their nature, occur over a period of time. Had Defendants property exercised their professional judgement in response to the April 17, 2007, referral, these injuries may well have been avoided."

Though Martinez paved the way for a jury trial against the caseworkers, a previous ruling dismissed the case against Denver Human Services and the Jefferson County Department of Human Services, based on government immunity.

Chandler was living with Phillips and his girlfriend, Sarah Berry, at the time of his death. Phillips was sentenced to life without parole for first-degree murder, and Berry is serving a 48-year prison sentence for second-degree murder.

Source: Denver Post

Hope for Children

December 9, 2011 permalink

Usually fixcas ignores promotional articles planted in the press by CAS. But since the Niagara region has been a recent focus of opposition, here it is:

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FACS Niagara logo

Gift of Hope enhances the lives of children

FACS and The Tribune partners in holiday campaign

WELLAND — Family and Children's Services Niagara can sometimes get a bad rap.

"We can't advertise, and people get a misconstrued idea of what we do. They think of us as the 'bad guys,'" says Mary Iannazzo, the president of FACS Niagara Foundation, the agency's fundraising arm.

In reality, the opposite is the case, as one can tell with the Gift of Hope campaign, a campaign that raises money to enhance the lives of children. Last year the community helped to send more than 300 children to camp and provided bursaries to 20 young adults to continue with their education.

"Just last week, I spoke to one young woman in her early 20s who had been in foster care since she was five and has gone to camp every year since," said FACS spokeswoman Ann Godfrey. "It's rewarding,"

Although money will continue to be spent on the camps and bursaries this year, Godfrey is also interested in financing some initiatives to help adolescents. One of these programs is New Outlooks and Beginnings.

"Usually parents assist youth in preparing for the outside," Iannazzo said. "It's unfortunate, but these kids don't get that. They need not only the financial support, but the emotional support to step out into the world." People can donate to FACS by calling 905-937-7731 ext. 3304 or by visiting www.facsniagara.on.ca and clicking on the Gift of Hope icon. People can also mail a cheque to FACS Foundation at Box 24028 in St. Catharines, L2R 7P7.

Schools, groups and businesses are also encouraged to host small events, take a collection or donate in lieu of a gift. FACS can provide a certificate for the donor to give to the honoree, and The Tribune will run recognition ads for sponsors of $2,500 or more (the cost of a bursary), as well as large recognition ads listing all donors and their honorees.

The Tribune is again partnering with FACS by providing coverage of the Gift of Hope campaign in upcoming articles this month.

Source: Welland Tribune

Can't advertise? That's news to us. Have a look at I Am Your Children's Aid.

Bursaries? Yes, CAS does provide bursaries. But look at the niggardly amounts! [1] [2] [3].

New CAS Leader in Peterborough

December 9, 2011 permalink

Kawartha-Haliburton CAS has a new executive director, Jennifer Wilson, who will take over in February. Her resumé includes a tour with Sudbury CAS. In the past Kawartha-Haliburton has been the source of a modest number of complaints, Sudbury far more. The new appointment is reason to hope for the best in Peterborough and fear for the worst.

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New CAS executive director announced

The Kawartha Haliburton Children's Aid Society board of directors has announced that a new executive director has been chosen.

Jennifer Wilson will start in the role of executive director on Feb. 6 2012, a press release states.

Wilson has 22 years of experience in the child welfare sector, the press release states, including four years as a local director/director of service at the Children's Aid Society of the districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin.

Wilson will replace interim executive director Suzanne Geoffrion, who was brought into the agency in November a month into a strike by CAS staff. Geoffrion will stay on during the transition period, the release states.

Geoffrion took over abruptly from long-time executive director Hugh Nicholson who was set to retire in December.

Source: Peterborough Examiner

Abrupt Gradualness

December 9, 2011 permalink

When CAS takes a child from mom and dad, he is gone forthwith. But reunification? That has to be a gradual transition over months. Here is a case in which CAS has decided to change foster parents while engaging in gradual reunification. The foster switch will take place abruptly this weekend.

It doesn't make sense in the best interest of the child. But it does keep the funding stream going for a few more months.

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Lori Miller I have been caring for my 2 year old grand-daughter, child of my eldest daughter, for several months. Recently, my youngest daughter was sexually assaulted by an extended family member, who has since been charged, arrested and as far as we know, is still in police custody. However, due to the assault, CAS was notified and have since decided that my grand-daughter may be at risk and is removing her from my care as of this coming weekend. This is absolutely ridiculous, there is absolutely no risk to her safety whatsoever. My grand-daughter is already beginning her transition back in to her home with her parents. This 'move' is certainly not within the child's best interest and we need help a.s.a.p. but it seems as if CAS is untouchable. Please help....looking for someone to do a story for us that might open up some doors to help. I have my whole family and numerous friends as support and even all our voices aren't enough. I have contacted so many workers, government officials and media that I can't keep track but am running out of time....my grand daughters well being is at stake.

Source: Facebook

Prince Edward County CAS History

December 9, 2011 permalink

Prince Edward County CAS has backed out of a proposed merger with Hastings CAS. A Belleville Intelligencer editorial on the subject is enclosed because of the posted comments by Brenda Everall. She has fourteen years experience with Prince Edward County CAS, including personal knowledge of the Holm case [1] [2]. We have confirmed the author is the same person at a Picton rally in August.

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County CAS needs to open up on decision, policies

Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society has decided a merger with Northumberland and Hastings County CAS is not in the cards for the PEC body.

If statements by directors of the other two agencies are to be believed, it will be a minor hiccup in the overall scheme of streamlining child protective services in the region.

Prince Edward CAS clearly has a better view of the needs and abilities of the County and children in need of protection and that may well be part of the reason for making its decision.

But, the County agency isn't explaining its case in any detail and with provincial funds and wards of the society's lives at stake in its decision, we'd have hoped for more rationale on the reasons for striking out alone or continuing as a lone entity.

The province had mandated amalgamation of children's aid agencies in pockets such as Quinte and in an era of provincial belt-tightening, it seemed to be a prudent exercise. But, Prince Edward CAS clearly decided it was not a good fit for the County's child protection service.

Why? We don't really know.

Prince Edward County CAS local director, William Sweet, issued a terse statement Monday, briefly outlining his agency's reasoning for the last-minute merger withdrawal.

In it, Sweet said the County agency concluded that the "County's interest would be best served by the preservation of an independent agency."

Oh? How so?

Perhaps the County board and its executive director felt it would diminish the autonomy of the County CAS. Again, we don't know because there has been precious little said about the decision.

What we would expect to hear from the Prince Edward CAS is how it will walk to tightrope between fiscal accountability and adequate resources and oversight to ensure another situation does not arise on its watch as the case of the Bloomfield couple recently jailed for sexually abusing CAS wards in their care.

Because that, more than anything, is the elephant in the board room that children's aid societies, locally, have yet to how a willingness to address.

Without more open communication on such issues as mergers and service provision, a public stung by closed-door policies is left to form its own opinions and that breeds nothing but contempt and suspicion.

Already, a jaded public is too often left to infer silence on such issues means there's something to hide. We're saying nothing of the sort, but if there is no openness to discuss reasons for stepping back from an amalgamation, what else are we not being told?

Why, then, Mr. Sweet and the board of Prince Edward CAS, did the County's child protection services decide it was in the County's "best interest" to stay autonomous? A short, detail-starved press release in this case does not suffice.


Awesome article! It would seem that Mr. Sweet and his board in their infinite wisdom are telling the public that it is none of our business. Well I for one disagree it is very much our business! PECAS is here to serve the families and children of Prince Edward County with Ontario taxpayers money. That makes it our business. This closed door policy is indeed making it look like they have something to hide. I think they are hiding a great deal of information on many issues including the safety of the children in their care. This is why there needs to be a public inquiry. Perhaps we need to go over Mr. Sweet and his Board's heads and demand the Ministry of Child and Youth Services (Minister Eric Hoskins) to tell the public what the hell is going on there.


they won't merge with the other C.A.S agencies because then they would be held accountable for their actions. the way they run their system would be brought to light. they would actually have to follow proper procedures instead of dogging it. taking 2-3 weeks to respond to peoples calls is ridiculous.if they won't merge shut them down and expand another C.A.S. agencies boundaries. the Prince Edward chapter is a joke!!


i agree PepperAnn there is something amiss with the director's and the boards decision to back out of amalgamation.is it because of autonomy of the agency,the fosterparents who were jailed or is there another hidden secret that is causing distress for the director and the board.what about the rumor that the ministry is doing a full investigation of the prince edward cas.something is very wrong.


There are a couple posters here that know for a fact that the rumor is not that but a fact. PECAS is in fact under current investigation by the ministry. Also PECAS currently only holds a provisional licence for child protection meaning they have not met all the requirements to operate a CAS and are being given a prescribed amount Of time to meet the standards (cfsa section193.6)

Due to the investigation Mr. Sweet is likely being advised to be tight lipped with media and those who want to know what is going on would probably get farther with the Ministry.


Thank you to the Intelligencer for opening the door to the truth. It has been a long time coming & beyond appreciated!

I assure can assure the public that Bill Sweet & his elite board of directors are hiding many truths.

I, myself have a long list of questions for Mr. Sweet and in the 14 years that I have been FORCED to deal with his agency he has eluded an answer to all of them. It no longer matters to me how the general public perceives my comments..the naysayers are becoming a minority quite rapidly. In fact, in the last 2-3 years I can't count the amount of people who said "I should've believed you sooner" or "I just can't believe our government would allow this." I couldn't believe it myself when my personal 'battle' with the CAS & family court started many years ago...but I caught on quick!

As a result of 'fighting the system' while retaining custody of my children, people started looking to me for answers & I began to help them. In no time at all I was swarmed with families seeking assistance to their matters with the CAS. As a result, my children & I have been targeted by the CAS & have been dragged through hell & back. Thank goodness my kids are thoroughly educated on their rights & completely intent on defending them, much to the CAS's regret :) I have hours of recorded conversations where my children are clearly being intimidated & threatened into silence. It's beyond sickening to see some of these power hungry SOCIAL WORKERS getting the praise that they do for being so WELL INTENDED when I can prove otherwise to anyone who'll listen. The general public doesn't want the truth & they've rejected it for far too long while the very children who are being 'PROTECTED' are anything but! CAS is out of control everywhere but this particular small town CAS has many, many skeletons in its closet!

I consistently pass drug tests, I have no physical/mental health issues (as confirmed by 2 doctors) that would impact my parenting capacity, I am educated, I've been at the same address maintaining a 3bdrm $1000.00/plus apartment, I'm not involved with the police, I don't have a partner, I have minimal friends, am active in my community & I have strong family supports. My children excel in school, they thrive in the arts and are visible in their community. The reports that I have from CAS says that no one in our lives, such as the school, counselors, doctor/dentist, etc. have concerns yet at the end of the report, it says that the CAS has concerns & that the file will remain open. $1.4 BILLION of YOUR taxpayer money went to finance this nonsense last year alone. They are focused on me & my well adjusted kids, yet we have things like this most recent fiasco in Bloomfield going unchecked. SERIOUSLY??? Joey & Janet (Holm) lived only minutes away from me..geography is not to blame here! The Picton CAS is!

I have spoken to family members, friends & former foster kids of Joey & Janet's & THERE WERE REPORTS & PHOTOS given to the CAS YEARS ago. CAS turned a blind eye. PERIOD! So many people knew about Joey & Janet's alternative lifestyle which they were welcome to as adults, but to throw foster kids into the mix was just disgusting. How could a whole community gossip about the goings-on in that house yet the CAS kept shipping kids there? Why were workers quoted to get 'creeped out' when having to visit there? WHY? WHY? WHY? Why is there STILL a photo album on Joe's facebook account of 'FORMER KIDS'? (last time I had access to his page the pics were there.)

There are so many more questions for PECAS. The public needs to ask how it is that I have an open file, yet just last year, a child was placed with me for a weekend for emergency care? The police & the CAS left her with me for the whole weekend & trusted me to bring her to the office on the Monday. How can this be? Why did a foster mother show up at my door a month ago with a teenager who had overdosed? The foster child refused to go ANYWHERE without me as she repeatedly stated that I was the ONLY ONE in the whole system (not that I'm part of the system), or world for that matter, that she could trust. She was on the run & knew she would be arrested at the hospital when released. It was heartbreaking. You know why she ran? Because she had to..she couldn't take any more ABUSE. See, this girl was sexually abused in her foster home yet when she spoke up she was shipped out & labelled a lying trouble maker. She got medicated & treated like a dirty little liar. I was there for it all as one of the only ones to believe her. Well, low & behold, a couple of years later, she gets called as a witness to the trial of the foster father that she had reported on. Other girls had come forward & it was going to be hard to contain, so now it's in court where they can keep it under wraps--not because it's the right thing to do. This girl has also been charged for petty nonsense so they can control her through the court process. It's simple for them, if she runs, she gets picked up & jailed. Then they feed her more meds until she is controllable again. It is unbelievable what this strong young woman has endured. Sitting at the hospital that evening with the CAS worker & the police made me sick to my stomach. I knew no matter how many times we hugged/kissed, held hands or exchanged 'I love you's', that it would all end soon & my ability to protect her was going to end upon her arrest, nevertheless, it was a moment I wouldn't have given up for the world. She felt so loved & safe, if for only a couple of hours. Meanwhile, back at my own apartment are my kids who had their world turned upside down when the foster mother walked through the door announcing that this girl had overdosed. I had to leave my own children (13 & 15 yrs old) very quickly during their night time routine & they were justifiably very upset & worried with the situation at hand. How fair is it that I can offer stability for my own kids only to have to constantly deal with PECAS dysfunction?

I assure you that I have advocated for many children over the years & I have been absolutely repeatedly shocked. I recall when a young girl begged me to get her out of her abusive situation only to later find that she had been returned to the abusive home that very evening contrary to the begging of this girl & PROOF that she was being physically & emotionally abused & neglected. I fought tooth & nail with that case worker only to be told that I don't know the whole story & that CAS doesn't have to justify themselves to anyone. We kept at it & the girl was ultimately moved out of the home, but not before some blood, sweat & tears!!

I have repeatedly asked Bill Sweet for an internal review with respect to my 14 year file. He did do one in 1994, but I caught him in many written lies & he just quit dealing with me since. Period. He simply won't even acknowledge my request(s) although the Ontario Child and Family Services act states that he must. When Bill gets caught in a lie, he withdraws & hopes it will all go away on its own. Unfortunately for you Bill, I promised you this justice years ago in the name of the children, and I have given you many years to reform your corrupt agency, you continue to hide & lie. did you know that Bill Sweet proudly boasts on his stationary that he has a MSW (masters of social work), implying that he is a social worker yet he's not registered and NEVER has been registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers & Social Service Workers. I have verified this through the OCSWSSW & have subsequently complained to the college. The Social Worker & Social Service Worker Act of Ontario CLEARLY STATES in section 46. (1) that No person except a registered social worker shall use the English title “social worker” or “registered social worker” or the French title “travailleur social” or “travailleur social inscrit” or an abbreviation of any of those titles to represent expressly or by implication that he or she is a social worker or registered social worker. 1998, c. 31, s. 46 (1).Same (2) No person except a registered social worker shall represent or hold out expressly or by implication that he or she is a social worker or a registered social worker. 1998, c. 31, s. 46 (2)... So why then is there only ONE ...YES, ONE registered worker at the PECAS? I have also verified this with the college & have the documents to verify. The registered member is a supervisor. EVERY other employee IS not registered. They think they found a loop hole by calling themselves child protection workers..yet a child protection worker as defined under section 40 of the CFSA can only apprehend a child & take him/her to a place of safety------thereby leaving the IMPORTANT stuff to a SOCIAL WORKER. So every time a CHILD PROTECTION WORKER does ANYTHING except apprehend a child, they are acting outside of section 40 of the CFSA as well as DIRECTLY VIOLATING the SWSSW Act. Yet again, no one seems to notice or care except for the advocates across this province fighting to have these laws enforced. All the while, if your matters are before the court or have been decided by the court you cannot appeal to the Child & Family Services Review and even if you can, contrary to popular belief, the CFSRB's hands are tied anyways and have no real power over the CAS regardless of the what oversight measures the government guarantees us to be in place. We are the only province to REFUSE ombudsman oversight by repeatedly voting down the Bill. The accountability isn't there. PERIOD!

All 53 CAS's have much to hide & the public needs to question the funding formula which motivates the CAS at the expense of $1.4 billion last year alone. Why are our streets & Prisons full of former crown wards who have no education, family ties, self esteem or sense of belonging? Because to satisfy a funding formula, a high rate of apprehension occurred & the children paid the ultimate price..look around, the evidence is EVERYWHERE! Children are approximately 7 times more likely to DIE in 'care' as opposed to remaining in their natural environment. Families are always going to face hard times & hit a brick wall now & again, but it is up to society to help, support & nurture that family rather then destroy it! Most of the time, parents are willing to accept help if offered, unfortunately, the CAS rarely offers help in my experience.

I want to express my thanks to all of the good workers & the truly loving foster parents who do it for the right reasons. I know there are many of you out there being rained on by this dark cloud of CAS secrecy & public outcry for justice. I am not claiming & nor do I believe that everyone in the system is corrupt or in it for the wrong reasons. I know there are good people out there who only want to provide care, love & support to an unfortunate child & that is commendable & generous! Some children are terribly abused & that is a sad reality..it is all the more reason to make an EFFECTIVE system that truly protects ALL children. How long will the public tolerate hearing "well it's not a perfect system"??? LETS MAKE IT PERFECT..NOW!! Perhaps the amalgamation between Northumberland, Hastings & Prince Edward county CAS's could help to accomplish change, but Bill Sweet has once again chosen to be anything but transparent. He started squirming when the Holm's case broke open, but then when Len Kennedy (Hastings CAS Ex. Dir) publicly slammed the PECAS for the mess, Bill Sweet withdrew from the amalgamation the very next day. Quite typical of the mentality that I've come to know in Bill Sweet. He believes that he doesn't have to answer to anyone. He really does. The PECAS & it's board of directors should be beyond ashamed! We've heard excuses & BS from Bill Sweet but we certainly haven't heard him take any ownership. He just thinks running & hiding will save make it all go away..he couldn't be more wrong! Children were abused on his watch & even though he needs to choose his words carefully through the ministry investigation, showing a little remorse & responsibility would serve him well. I will submitting a report to the ministry to make sure that each & every case of child abuse on his watch is investigated but in the meantime, we need to demand to know what services have been offered to the MANY children in this region who have endured abuse of any sort while in PECAS care...seriously, what is being done to help these kids overcome their OBVIOUS traumas? We need to know!

I cannot begin to convey the hell this CAS has put my family & this community through! I have fought back for years. I'm tired & broken, but still swinging in hopes of real change! Good luck all!


further more to the people that will argue that no child is apprehended without reason.. too bad this wasn't supported with criminal charges. If someone abuses/neglects their children to the point of justifiable apprehension, criminal charges should always support this & the abuser should be punished. Wouldn't you think? Why doesn't this happen? Why can CAS take your kids, lie to a judge & be that simple? The public can't really be this daft I would hope. Why are thousands of ALLEGED child abusers free to roam our streets & live among us? Doesn't that scare you? The naysayers need to use their heads and start asking these questions...why aren't our prison & jails filled with the abusers in numbers to match all the 'ABUSED' kids in care?


Brenda Everall I encourage you to contact the ministry about the ongoing current investigation. Your situation might be relevant to them. Also if you have gone though the internal complaint process at the agency in question ou can elevate the complaint to ministry level. The office of the child and youth advocate would likely be able to assit you. 1-800-263-2841


Thank you for your advice & contact info, I appreciate it very much. I am 3/4 done my complaint to the ministry (ugh..lol) & will put a rush on it :)


Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Husband = Monster

December 8, 2011 permalink

What's the main function of a husband in the family? Beating up his wife and kids. At least, that's what you think after your mind has been warped by political correctness. Verizon has produced an ad Monsters (mp4) in this genre. Barbara Kay comments below.

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Barbara Kay: A new front opens in the hate campaign against men

Today, December 6, is the anniversary of the horrific 1989 Montreal Massacre, in which 14 women were murdered at Montreal’s Polytéchnique.

It cannot be stressed enough that the tragedy was the act of a deranged loner, and a unique event in Canada’s history. The event displayed no characteristics of “domestic” violence: The women were strangers to the gunman. And yet since that day ideologues have created an industry whose message is bruited through the educational system and parroted by every politically correct man and woman in public office throughout our land and indeed in all nations of the West through the heavily-funded White Ribbon campaign: namely, that domestic violence runs rampant against women – all of whom are blameless victims – and that all men, driven by an inherent need to control women, are potential abusers.

Marketing campaigns funded by high-profile companies drill the message home with slick and costly media ads. That the message is misleading, biased and sexist is rarely noted and virtually always ignored when it is noted.

The latest, and perhaps the most outrageous example of this kind of extreme misandry is the Verizon Foundation’s new, widely distributed video entitled “Monsters,” which portrays the average American home as a secret chamber of horrors, in which a pleasant façade hides terrified mothers and children, stalked by the shadowy figure of the family “monster,” the husband and father. It is chilling to watch; any woman or child ignorant of the actual facts around domestic violence would walk away from it convinced that that they were in imminent peril, and that at any moment their beloved husband or father might transmogrify before their eyes into a veritable Mr Hyde.

I have left three media queries over the past week with the Verizon Foundation’s media communication contacts in order to query them about where they got their facts and statistics, but have received no response. This morning I received notice that a group called SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments) is charging the Verizon Foundation with misleading the public.

The “Monsters” video states that one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. That sounds ominous. But the video fails to state that one in four men will also be a victim in his lifetime.

That old canard that domestic violence is a one-way street refuses to die, even though authoritative sources such as Statistics Canada continually release data that clearly indicate that most violence is bilateral. And mostly low level – pushing, slapping, screaming, throwing small objects by both parties – certainly not pleasant or mature behaviour, but not life-threatening. If the video’s implications were true, our hospitals and morgues would overflow with women.

Reality check: domestic violence of all kinds is a chronic problem for about 7% of women and men in Canada. The overall homicide rate for women killed as a result of domestic violence is about 40 a year in Canada (about 20 men are killed by their intimate partners). That is a statistically trivial figure.

The Verizon website also makes the claim that “domestic violence is the single greatest cause of injury to women ages 15 to 44 in the U.S.” (Canadian feminists often claim the same for Canada). That is a myth. The most common reason for admissions in this age group are falls and car accidents. In the records of one hospital in Ontario I checked with, domestic violence accounted for about 1% of admissions.

SAVE rightly castigates Verizon for ignoring abuse to half the population and perpetuating false stereotypes. The children in the video were portrayed as in fear of their father alone, but in fact mothers are more likely to physically abuse their children, and cause more deaths to children than fathers do.

What other identifiable group in society besides men is subjected to such calumny? The Verizon Foundation’s ad encourages hatred of men, and more important it will certainly sow alarmism in children who view it. Moreover, children exposed to this ad who have been subjected to abuse by their mothers will be confused and are likely to feel ashamed to report it, for the ad’s silence on abuse by mothers suggests it must be kept secret.

The ad is defamatory and inflammatory. Such overt bias is unworthy of a corporate giant like Verizon. The ad campaign should be withdrawn immediately.

Source: National Post

Addendum: Verizon has reacted to the firestorm of criticism by removing the Monsters video from its website as of December 9. The fixcas copy is still available.

Prosecuted for Motherhood

December 8, 2011 permalink

Mother Niveen Ismail continued to love her son even after California terminated her parental rights. That is a crime. Earlier article.

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Prosecutor: Mom solicited kidnapping of her son from foster parents

SANTA ANA - A Newport Beach woman solicited to have her 7-year-old son kidnapped from his foster family so she could flee with him to Europe or the Middle East, a prosecutor told a jury here Wednesday.

Niveen Ismail, 45, was desperate to get custody of her son after the court system first removed the boy from her care for neglect, stopped reunification efforts and eventually terminated her parental rights over a period of years, Deputy District Attorney Beth Costello said.

Niveen Ismail

Ismail did everything she could to get back her son, and when she lost her last appeal in the court system as the boy was being adopted by his foster parents, she "resorted to the illegal," Costello said in her opening statements of Ismail's felony trial.

In November 2009, Ismail asked a private investigator to kidnap her son from his foster family in Lake Forest and take him to Mexico in exchange for money, Costello said.

"A desperate act from a desperate woman," Costello said.

Defense attorney Ann Cunningham told the jury in her opening statement that Ismail "obviously never stopped loving" her son, but she did not solicit his kidnapping.

Instead, Cunningham said, Ismail wanted the private investigator to get information on the foster parents that would persuade a judge to remove the boy from their care so he could be raised in a home where Ismail could keep track of him.

"She never asked to have her child kidnapped," Ismail said.

Ismail is being tried before a jury in Superior Court Judge Michael Hayes' court on one felony count of solicitation to commit kidnapping charge.

If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison.

Source: Orange County Register

Addendum: A further article clarifies. Mother Niveen Ismail tried to get her son back by legal means. When she started making a good case in court, the state decided to set her up by sending undercover cops to entice her into criminal acts. She refused to go along with the criminal suggestions, but the state is prosecuting her anyway. The article includes a list of the petty infractions the state used to justify terminating her parental rights.

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Mother who won't give up faces prison

SANTA ANA – The state took Niveen Ismail's son and gave him to somebody else.

Now authorities are trying to lock her up, charging her with going too far to get him back.

Niveen Ismail

Ismail, of Newport Beach, went to trial in Orange County Superior Court this week on a single charge of solicitation to kidnap - the result of a December 2009 meeting with a private investigator and an undercover police officer who was wearing a wire. The charge carries three years.

In the meantime, she is waging her own battle in federal court with civil rights lawsuits that question why California is the only state not to follow a Supreme Court ruling on how to terminate parental rights.

In the criminal case, the prosecution says Ismail asked the investigator to kidnap her then 7-year-old son, Anthony, from his foster family and take him to Mexico or France, where Ismail would pick him up and return to her native Egypt.

But in a videotape of the meeting played in court Thursday, Ismail never appeared to instruct anyone to kidnap her son, although the audio is garbled at times. A potential kidnapping plan is discussed, but Ismail says on tape at least seven times that she just wants to go with another plan: surveillance on her son's foster family in hopes of digging up or manufacturing dirt.

After she insists on Plan A – surveillance – the undercover officer encourages her to give him $2,000 to get a fake passport for Anthony, so that they can at least get started with Plan B, kidnapping, according to the tape. She agrees and emails him a photo of Anthony to use, but then backs out, agreeing only to give him $500 to start surveillance, according to the tape.

As she left that December meeting to go to the bank, she was arrested by Newport Beach police, who had been listening in, according to court records.

The meeting with the private investigator and undercover officer came just a few weeks after Ismail got word that the U.S. Supreme Court had denied her appeal of the legal proceedings that took her son away. (Later, in 2010 and 2011, she filed civil rights lawsuits against most of the agencies involved, which are pending.)

Deputy District Attorney Beth Costello said that Ismail "resorted to the illegal" after her appeals over the adoption case were exhausted.

Ismail's son was taken by the Orange County Social Services Agency in 2005 after she left him home alone, according to court records. Huntington Beach police found her preschool-age son alone in his crib after a neighbor heard him crying.

Social workers came in to take the boy. Ismail, a single mother, had gone to work even though her child care arrangement fell through that day, her attorney, Ann Cunningham said.

In supervised visits, Ismail failed to set boundaries – not giving Anthony time-outs, allowing him a cookie when he didn't finish his meal, social workers reported, court records said.

A fair-haired boy with almond eyes and a winsome smile, Anthony was placed with a "fost-adopt" family in Lake Forest, three months after he was taken from Ismail, and has been with them ever since.

In her lawsuit, Ismail accuses the social workers of deciding early on to adopt her son out to another family and thwart any chance at reunification by incessant fault-finding, such as:

She fed him a tuna fish sandwich during a bowling outing, and tuna got on the ball return.

Her toilet water was blue.

She ordered him an IHOP International Breakfast meal rather than something from the Kids Menu.

At Dave and Busters, on a mid-week afternoon, she allowed her son to use the men's room by himself, while she and a social worker waited by the door.

That last incident was cited by the judge in deciding to terminate reunification efforts, according to Ismail and Cunningham. Taking her son to an establishment with a bar was said to be evidence of bad judgment.

Ismail is arguing that the way California severs parental rights is unconstitutional.

In California, a parent's rights can be effectively terminated before anyone has to present "clear and convincing" evidence that they should be, according to a law journal article that she cites in her lawsuits.

The other 49 states follow a Supreme Court precedent that requires a court to find "clear and convincing evidence" of a parent's unfitness before terminating his or her rights. California follows a looser "preponderance of the evidence" standard. That means a mother loses her child if the court rules it's more likely than not she's a bad one.

The California Supreme Court has decided that the U.S. Supreme Court standard doesn't apply here. By the time a California court considers a mother's rights, they are outweighed by the child's bonds with a new family.

Ismail argues that point in her lawsuits, but first she has her kidnapping case, which continues on Monday.

In November 2009, Ismail called several private investigators, prosecutors allege. One of them, Robert Young, had a history as a police informant.

Young testified Thursday that Ismail approached him with a plan either to dig up dirt on the foster couple or to plant something incriminating. At the end of the meeting, she mentioned a Plan B: kidnapping her son and taking him abroad, he said. Young said he'd have to talk to his partner. Then he called the police, and set up another meeting with Ismail, bringing Newport Beach police officer Neal Schuster, who was posing as his partner.

On tape, the "investigators" say they'd be willing to help her get her son back.

"It's not like we haven't done stuff like this in the past," one says.

"Seriously, can you do Plan B," Ismail asks early on. "What if I ask you to fly him to Libya, or France," she asks later.

Otherwise, she continually steers the conversation back to Plan A, saying she'd need a few more weeks to decide about Plan B.

"I think we're going to go with the first one," Ismail tells him. "If A fails.... I was hoping to do A.... Go with A.... I was hoping A would work.... You don't think A would work?.... Maybe you can work on A for a couple weeks.... Why don't you think about Plan A first.... If you want B, that would take at least a month of preparation for me.... I'm really thinking I want to go with A.... We'll start off with A and if that doesn't work out for you.... A would be good.... I'm still debating what to do."

The prosecution needs to prove that kidnapping was actually requested, not just discussed, according to the state's jury instructions for the charge she is facing.

Source: Orange County Register

Addendum: Acquitted by the jury.

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Mother found not guilty in kidnap case

A Newport Beach woman accused of solicitation to kidnap her son from his foster parents was found not guilty of the charge Thursday afternoon in Orange County Superior Court.

After deliberating for around three hours, a jury found Niveen Ismail not guilty of the single felony charge she was facing.

Niveen Ismail
Niveen Ismail booking photo
COURTESY OF ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE

Ismail was arrested by the Newport Beach Police Department in December 2009 after a sting, in which a detective posed as a private investigator willing to kidnap her then 7-year-old son.

"We had an intelligent jury that sifted through rumor, innuendo and distraction thrown at them by the prosecution," Ismail's attorney, Ann Cunningham, said. "The case was all on tape."

On that tape, which was played in court, Ismail discusses a potential kidnapping with the officer and a private investigator, but is never heard to actually request it. Rather, she repeatedly turns the conversation back to a plan to conduct surveillance on the foster family.

Ismail's preschool-age son was taken from her in 2005, after police found him home alone. Three months later, he was placed with a foster family that has since adopted him.

The actions that were on trial took place shortly after Ismail's parental rights had been terminated.

The prosecution accused Ismail of shopping around for someone willing to kidnap her son, Anthony, take him across the border to Mexico, and possibly fly him overseas, where she would meet up and return to her native Egypt.

Deputy District Attorney Beth Costello presented circumstantial evidence that suggested Ismail had been considering a kidnapping: internet searches she'd done for driving directions from the foster family's city to the Mexican border, flight information from Mexico to Europe, a half-completed Egyptian passport application.

But the charge requires evidence of more than planning or considering; an actual request has to be made.

A private investigator named Robert Young testified that Ismail raised the possibility of a kidnapping at the end of their first meeting, phrasing it as a "what if."

Young set up a second meeting, bringing the undercover officer, who posed as his partner.

The prosecutor presented two theories for the jury to accept: either Ismail solicited kidnapping on the tape they watched, or she did it during the first meeting with Young.

But she repeatedly acknowledged that there's no one point on the tape where Ismail solicits a kidnapping.

"Does there have to be one particular sentence where there's a request," she asked the jury. "Her actions speak louder than any particular word," she said later.

Throughout the meeting of more than an hour, Ismail steers the conversation to a Plan A, surveillance, while the undercover officer keeps steering it back to Plan B, kidnapping.

Then the detective tries to get her to agree to give him $2,500 - $500 for surveillance and $2,000 to get a fake passport for Anthony. On the tape, Ismail emails him a photo to use, but then backs out, agreeing only to get the $500.

Cunningham told the jury the tape proved there was no solicitation.

"How scary would this case be if you didn't have the film," she asked.

Costello's take on the agreement reached: "Who cares how much money it was or what it was for?"

"Clearly, this is all a huge misunderstanding," she told the jury sarcastically. "This is all a terrible coinkidink."

The jury heard testimony from attorney Shawn McMillan, who won a landmark judgment of nearly $10 million against the county in a lawsuit against the local Social Services Agency over social workers who lied and wrongly took a mother's two daughters.

McMillan told the jury that Ismail's hopes for getting her son back through the courts were not over, even though her appeal of the adoption was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The prosecution's theory was that Ismail turned to illegal methods after her legal avenues were exhausted.

Ismail has filed two civil rights lawsuits against most of the agencies involved, arguing that California's method of terminating parental rights is unconstitutional, as it is the only state not to follow a standard for doing so set by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Source: Orange County Register

Dunnville Rally

December 8, 2011 permalink

Santa Claus
Santa knows CAS has been naughty.

A rally for CAS accountability took place in Dunnville Ontario on Wednesday. Participants report that the police were supportive, voicing private reservations about CAS that they cannot express on the job. A personal message from Chris York and a press report follow.

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Chris York I want to take a moment to thank the people of Dunnville Ontario for the warm welcome and reception they gave us when we showed up today to rally in there town. The support we received was beyond outstanding and we were asked by a few locals to come back to there town in the future.

It was nice to see so many faces coming up and supporting us and spreading the word that we were there. we had people sitting at home that heard we were there and made it a point to get up and come out to sign the petitions.

It was so nice to see people that decided to not stay at home and decided to do there part to call for change.

Cars were honking in support of the cause and people stoped by just to say Thank You.

A big thanks goes out to the people of Dunnville for that warm reception and understanding and rest assured we will grant your wish with a return in the future.

Source: Facebook


Bobbie Gellner, Pat Hudak and Chris York
Representatives from Canada Court Watch, including, from left, Bobbie Gellner, Pat Hudak and Chris York, stand on the corner of Lock Street and Queen Street protesting the Children's Aid Society of Haldimand and Norfolk during the afternoon of Wednesday Dec. 7, 2011. The group claims there is too much corruption and wrongful practices going on within the non-profit corporation.
MATT DAY THE CHRONICLE

Protestors speak out against Children's Aid Society

It wasn't quite as large as some of the Occupy protests seen around the world, but still, a protest of any kind in downtown Dunnville is sure to grab the attention of people passing by.

Representatives from Canada Court Watch, a public accountability group, collected signatures and spoke out against the Children's Aid Society (CAS), claiming there is "so much corruption going on" with the non-profit corporation.

A group of about a dozen people stood at the corner of Lock Street and Queen Street in Dunnville on Wednesday afternoon using a megaphone to announce their thoughts on the organization.

"The workers are going into homes and perjuring themselves in documents and there's no oversight," claims media spokesperson Bobbie Gellner.

They came to Dunnville because recently the group travelled through town in their Canada Court Watch van and had residents come up to them claiming the Children's Aid Society in Haldimand and Norfolk was "awful".

"We've had a few stories here already today and these pages are filling up with signatures quickly," Gellner said, adding about 100 signatures had been collected by noon – one hour after beginning their peaceful protest outside the Royal Bank of Canada which ended around 2 p.m..

"We definitely agree there is a need for child protection, but there needs to be some accountability and oversight."

She said all too often children are taken away from their parents under false accusations of wrongful care.

Chris York, a fellow protestor, agreed mentioning he almost lost his son when the Children's Aid Society intervened recently.

"I was accused by my sister of being a drug addict and an alcoholic and six police officers came and busted down my door at my St. Catharines area home like they were storm troopers," York said. "They found no drugs, searched my home illegally without a warrant, turned my socks inside out and I went to court four days later where they accused me of still having a drug problem.

"When I showed results of blood testing done by my doctor proving that wasn't the case, [CAS] changed their story contradicting everything they accused me of and said it was a mental health issue instead."

York said he had his son returned within a week, but that the damage had already been done.

"For the next year and a half I had to vigorously defend myself against more allegations saying I had an anger problem. I don't; I have a hatred probelm against the Children Aid's Society for what's taking place."

Gellner said some CAS workers who are engaged in the practice of social work with the province's various agencies are working in violation of the Social Workers and Social Services Work Act (1998) by not being registered members of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

"They use the title as child protection worker, yet they are doing social work. They are changing the law by changing their title."

She claimed the CAS also uses doctors they've consulted beforehand to administer parental capacity assessments.

"That's an extremely biased assessment because they choose the doctor you have to go to, one they've used thousands of times before against other families."

"These doctors already see these verified allegations on you and ask you questions so you can never pass," added York.

Executive Director of the Children's Aid Society of Haldimand and Norfolk, Janice Robinson, said the idea that her organization takes children prematurely is "not right".

"I understand that the Children's Aid Society has a lot of power and we can sometimes be perceived that way in the public eye, but we work hard for people and ensuring a child's best interests are met."

She said the organization, for the most part, tries to make it possible for the child to stay with his or her family.

"We feel that's where they belong, but that can't aways happen, so we look for the least intrusive alternative."

Robinson said that often means contacting the child's parents' next of kin.

As well as conducting their work within the contact of Ontario's Family Court System, CAS also answers to the Ministry of Children and Needs Services and the Child and Family Services Review Board.

Robinson said the agency welcomes the opinion of people.

"If someone doesn't like what's happening or wants to learn more, I'm not one who doesn't want to hear what they have to say," she said, adding if a strong showing of signatures is collected that "maybe there is something that requires our attention."

In 2010 and 2011, CAS of Ontario received more than $1.4 billion in provincial tax money.

To find out more about Canada Court Watch, visit www.canadacourtwatch.com

Source: Dunnville Chronicle
Also published in the Simcoe Reformer

More pictures: [1] [2] [3] [4] [Santa]. Here is the video, YouTube and local copy (mp4).

Source for pictures: Facebook

Drugging Foster Children

December 8, 2011 permalink

ABC News reports on the drugging of American children, with foster children getting drugged at many times the average rate.

Watch Diane Sawyer on ABC 20/20 reporting on drugging of foster children, along with some critical comments by Richard Wexler. ABC's separate print report is enclosed.

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New Study Shows U.S. Government Fails to Oversee Treatment of Foster Children With Mind-Altering Drugs

child taking medication
Children in foster care are more likely to take multiple antipsychotic medications for longer periods of time than any other group of children.
Fuse/Getty Images

The federal government has not done enough to oversee the treatment of America's foster children with powerful mind-altering drugs, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to be released Thursday.

ABC News was given exclusive access to the GAO report, which capped off a nationwide yearlong investigation by ABC News on the overuse of the most powerful mind-altering drugs on many of the country's nearly 425,000 foster children.

The GAO's report, based on a two-year-long investigation, looked at five states -- Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and Texas. Thousands of foster children were being prescribed psychiatric medications at doses higher than the maximum levels approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in these five states alone. And hundreds of foster children received five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time despite absolutely no evidence supporting the simultaneous use or safety of this number of psychiatric drugs taken together.

GAO Key Findings

Overall, the GAO looked at nearly 100,000 foster children in the five states and found that more than one-fourth of foster children were prescribed at least one psychiatric drug.

The GAO found foster children were prescribed psychotropic drugs at rates up to nearly five times higher than non-foster children, with foster children in Texas being the most likely to receive the medications compared to foster children in the other four states.

Although the actual percentages of children who received five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time were low in the five states included in the GAO report, the chances of a foster child compared to a non-foster child being given five or more psychiatric drugs at the same time were alarming.

In Texas, foster children were 53 times more likely to be prescribed five or more psychiatric medications at the same time than non-foster children. In Massachusetts, they were 19 times more likely. In Michigan, the number was 15 times. It was 13 times in Oregon. And in Florida, foster children were nearly four times as likely to be given five or more psychotropic medications at the same time compared to non-foster children.

Initially part of GAO's investigation, Maryland was later excluded from GAO's analysis "due to the unreliability of their foster care data" according to the report, a problem ABC News learned many states face.

Foster children were also more than nine times more likely than non-foster children to be prescribed drugs for which there was no FDA-recommended dose for their age.

For the most vulnerable foster children, those less than 1 year old, foster children were nearly twice as likely to be prescribed a psychiatric drug compared to non-foster children.

When Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., lead requestor of the GAO report, first learned of the report's findings, he said, "I was almost despondent to believe that the kids under the age of one, babies under the age of one were receiving this kind of medication."

ABC News has reviewed dozens of medical studies published in recent years that echo GAO's findings -- research showing foster children receive psychiatric medications up to 13 times more often than kids in the general population.

In some parts of the country, as many as half of foster kids are on one or more psychiatric medications. This, compared to just 4 percent of kids in the general population.

Dr. George Fouras, a child psychiatrist and co-chairman of the Adoption and Foster Care Committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), said, "There is an incredible push to use medications to solve these problems as if it is a magic wand."

Meet Ke'onte

The stories include kids like 11-year-old Ke'onte from Texas, whose journey was documented by ABC News over the past year and who will be testifying before Congress on Thursday about the overuse of psychiatric medications in foster children.

Neglected and often left home alone with his 1-year old sister, Ke'onte became a ward of the state at the tender age of four. Ke'onte was placed with a relative who, he said, beat him with belts, switches, and extension cords -- which not only left him with the physical scars on his body he showed ABC News, but, understandably, with anger and despair.

Simply too much for the relative, the state of Texas bounced Ke'onte between six foster homes and hospitals over just four years.

Along the way, Ke'onte's trauma was treated with an onslaught of psychotropic drugs -- powerful mind-altering medicines like the mood-stabilizer Depakote, the stimulant Vyvanse, the antidepressant Lexapro, clonidine for ADHD and the antipsychotic Seroquel.

"I was put on bipolar meds. I am not bipolar at all," Ke'onte told ABC News' Diane Sawyer.

Ke'onte was on at least 12 psychiatric medications while in foster care, up to four of them at the same time.

"I was on a whole lot of medicines that I should have not been on," Ke'onte told ABC News.

But Ke'onte is lucky -- a member of a select group of foster kids, about one in 10, who leave state custody to enjoy the security and stability of being adopted by a loving family, according to the latest data from the Administration for Children and Families.

And his new family, Carol and Scott Cook, were on a mission to get Ke'onte off drugs; he is now in therapy, beginning to heal. Additionally, his doctor now says Ke'onte doesn't have ADHD and he's not bipolar.

Meds Aren't Always the Answer

While almost all experts acknowledge children in foster care have more emotional and behavioral issues, experts ABC News spoke to do not believe this alone justifies the magnitude of the overuse of psychiatric medications in this vulnerable population.

"The general consensus is that when you're treating young children, you always try behavioral intervention before you go to medication," said Dr. Charles Zeanah, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Tulane University.

Experts are also beginning to question the accuracy of diagnoses such as bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses in children, especially in foster children who may not always have access to comprehensive mental health services.

Stephen Crystal, director of the Center for Education and Research on Mental Health Therapeutics at Rutgers University, said while foster kids may be three times as likely to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, "the validity of these diagnoses is uncertain, and the fact of being in foster care may itself increase the likelihood of psychiatric conditions being diagnosed."

While the National Institute of Mental Health reports schizophrenia affects just 1 percent of the population and bipolar disorder less than 3 percent of the population, antipsychotics have become one of the top-selling classes of medications in the United States, with 2010 prescription sales of $16.2 billion, according to IMS Health.

Concerned about numerous reports of waste and the abuse of psychiatric medications in foster children, Republican and Democratic United States senators, led by Sen. Carper, requested an independent GAO investigation on the growing problem nearly two years ago.

In the five states included in this week's GAO report, more than $375 million was spent on psychiatric drugs in 2008, $200 million of which was spent in Texas alone.

Medicaid spends at least $6 billion a year, nearly 30 percent of its entire drug budget, on psychiatric drugs, more than double what was spent in 1999, according to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

GAO Holds HHS Accountable

The GAO report is an indictment on HHS's oversight of the nation's foster care children and asks that "HHS consider endorsing guidance for states on best practices for overseeing psychotropic prescriptions for foster children."

Several factors may be contributing to the increasing number of psychotropic prescriptions for foster children: greater exposure to trauma before entering the foster care system, frequent changes in foster placements and lax oversight policies on the part of states.

"You know, there are a lot of people you need to talk to, to find out as much as you can about what the child's behavior is like in a variety of different situations before you make a determination that you're going to use something like a very powerful medication to treat them," Zeanah said.

The GAO found that Texas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, and Florida each "falls short of providing comprehensive oversight as defined by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry" with regards to prescribing and overseeing the use of psychotropic drugs.

Currently, HHS simply provides "informational resources for states to consider for their programs" when it comes to psychotropic drugs provided to children in state custody according to the GAO.

States are not obligated to follow consent and oversight best principle guidelines set by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for medicating foster children.

However, many states are also not following oversight provisions required by law, according to the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act passed in September 2011 and the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.

In addition to providing guidance, HHS also has the authority to withhold federal funds from states that do not comply with strengthened oversight measures.

Sen. Carper said Congress has a responsibility, too -- "to try to get to the bottom of this, and armed with that information, to make sure that behavior is changed, that's going to be beneficial to children."

HHS Sends Letter to States the Day Before Thanksgiving

HHS was given an early look at the GAO report and issued a letter to states the day before Thanksgiving regarding the effective use of psychotropic medications among children in foster care.

"Too many states, I'm afraid, just don't know what best practices are," Carper said.

But states have been asking for help for years.

One state official told researchers at Tufts, "[We] need guidelines to determine whether medications are needed and, if so, for how long."

HHS said it will "offer expanded opportunities to states and territories to strengthen their systems of prescribing and monitoring psychotropic medication use among children in foster care."

Dr. Christopher Bellonci, a child psychiatrist and author of a 2010 Tufts study that showed nearly 50 percent of states either didn't have, or were still in the process of developing, policies regarding foster care psychotropic drug use, thinks HHS guidance for states on best practices, while good, are not enough.

Bellonci told ABC News the states should have to report pharmacy claims of actual psychotropic drugs given to foster children.

"We need to be able to benchmark states around one another, then at least it is all public record," Bellonci said.

Background on the Drugs

Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers are some of the so-called psychotropic drugs -- psychiatric medicines that alter chemical levels in the brain, which impacts mood and behavior.

Of the psychotropics, antipsychotics, like Ke'onte's Seroquel and others like Abilify, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Geodon, Invega, Latuda, Fanapt, Clozaril, Saphris and Solian, are among the most powerful.

Of all the psychiatric medications, antipsychotics are, by far, the most prescribed, especially for foster children. Foster children are given antipsychotics at a rate nine times higher than children not in foster care, according to a 2010 16-state analysis by Rutgers University of nearly 300,000 foster children.

While doctors aren't exactly sure how or even why antipsychotics work, most experts believe antipsychotics block specific receptors in the brain, which are thought to be overactive in patients with symptoms of psychoses, such as hallucinations and delusions.

Antipsychotics were initially designed for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Only Seroquel, Abilify, Risperdal, and Zyprexa have very limited FDA-approval for use in children.

However, antipsychotics are being widely prescribed off-label, meaning for conditions the FDA has not approved them for, for things like agitation, anxiety, acting out, irritability, behavior issues and even as sleeping aids.

Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, chief medical officer for Medicaid in the state of Washington, said, "Nobody gets up in the morning to overdose kids. It just happens that it's a momentum in the system. Kids get aggressively diagnosed and sometimes we look for the easy solution, which is a pill over psychotherapy or better parenting."

Critics charge that, because of their sedating properties, antipsychotics are actually being used in foster care treatment facilities as chemical restraints.

Dr. Fouras is particularly concerned about the use of these drugs as chemical restraints.

"We are trying to put a nice shiny term that sounds [as if] 'oh, we're just restraining the kid,' [when] really what you are doing is just knocking them out to make them less of a problem for you," Fouras said.

This widespread and frequently unchecked use of antipsychotics is concerning considering the serious side effects of these medications. Antipsychotics change a person's metabolism, frequently cause significant weight gain and can increase the risk of diabetes.

In addition to tremors, muscle spasms and restlessness, antipsychotics can cause tardive dyskinesia, a permanent and irreversible condition where a person has involuntary movements of the tongue, lip, mouth, and arms and legs.

While less common with newer antipsychotics, each year 5 percent of people on antipsychotics will develop tardive dyskinesia, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Many experts are also concerned about the prolonged use of antipsychotics in children, given there are absolutely no long-term safety studies for their use in children.

Fouras said, "Some of these medications have only been out for 10 to 15 years, so that is not enough time to know what is going to happen over the long term."

Source: ABC news

Mother Pleads Guilty

December 7, 2011 permalink

Here is a story worthy of skepticism. A mother has pleaded guilty to making her own baby sick with high doses of Tylenol. Maybe she is a monster, or maybe CAS told her she could get her children back by pleading guilty. Since there are no names in the article, there is no way to check. It is here for reference in case the story comes up again.

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Ont. mom gets probation for making her child sick

A woman who sickened her infant to attract attention by mixing a handful of crushed Tylenol 3 pills into the baby's formula, has been sentenced to probation for 30 months.

The woman, 25, earlier plead guilty to unlawfully causing bodily harm.

Her name cannot be published under the terms of a court-ordered publication ban.

On Feb. 26, 2010, police and the Children's Aid Society were called to a Hamilton hospital after a four-month-old baby was admitted with symptoms that included vomiting, irritability and lethargy.

It was later determined the infant's mother had crushed between 10 to 14 Tylenol 3 pills and mixed them into the baby's formula.

Over the course of 10 to 12 hours, the baby showed signs of distress, but the mother did not seek medical attention. She waited for her husband to come home and then the baby was taken to hospital.

The woman was interviewed by police and CAS officials and she offered up a number of excuses as to how high levels of codeine could have entered the baby's system.

Court heard the woman at first suggested a pill may have accidentally fallen into the formula bottle and then suggested their proximity to a pharmaceutical company might have had something to do with it.

Eventually, she admitted what she did and said she did it to attract attention. She enjoyed the way her husband responded during a crisis, court was told.

The woman said she also posted pictures of her hospitalized baby on Facebook to garner attention.

Hair follicle testing on the infant suggested exposure to codeine poisoning for a number of months prior, court heard. The infant spent less than a week in hospital after the February incident.

Investigation revealed the baby, and a child a few years older, had both previously been admitted to hospital numerous times for a host of reasons.

Neither child required admission to hospital after the mother's arrest.

A joint submission for a suspended sentence and 30 months of probation was presented to the court by the Crown and defence, and accepted by Justice Gethin Edward.

The mother has agreed to a psychological assessment. She is allowed supervised access to her children.

She was ordered to submit a sample of her DNA for inclusion in the national offender's databank and she is banned from owning weapons for 10 years.

Source: London Free Press

Icy Treatment

December 6, 2011 permalink

What's the best treatment for a child sick with the flu? Taking him out in the Canadian winter without a coat. That's what CAS did to a boy in Hearst Ontario. For non-Canadians, Hearst is 1000 kilometers north of Chicago, and a typical December daytime temperature is -10C or 14F.

Randy Filion
Terri Filion
Children's aid in Hearst just kidnapped my son who is very sick with the flu and has a high fever and they took him outside without his coat on.

Source: Facebook

Other postings say that CAS failed to give a reason for the apprehension at the time.

Lies, Damned Lies and Social Workers

December 6, 2011 permalink

Some of the biggest lies by social workers occur not in affidavits, but in face-to-face meetings with parents. Stephanie Semple posts a litany of lies given to her in Simcoe.

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Stephanie Semple I am wondering if anyone knows of a good cheap lawyer? I live in Simcoe and just recently had my children taken for NO REASON from me. I have caught the CAS worker lying on tape recorder - I placed my children at their parental grandparents house for "two weeks" as the CAS worker told me then when I met with her the next day it turned into 6 MONTHS!! I was told I could see them every day and have YET to have a visit with my children. My son was taken right from school and I didn't even get to say goodbye to him. A week before this happened they told me they were meeting with me to place the children in my care - only to come and remove them instead. They told me it was either I place them at the grandparents or they go in care. I had NO CHOICE!! My worker told me if I was able to find a family member that would fit the CAS standards then the kids could go there - I met with the worker today and she takes the information of my family member then calls me later that night to say it's no longer a "voluntary agreement" - it's going to court next week!!! EVERYTHING they say to me is a LIE. I really need some help!!! On top of all of this I found out my CAS worker went - the day after they took my kids from me - to my daughter's school and told her I was a DRUG ADDICT (I was prescribed the medication that I'm taking from my doctor but they call it being a drug addict?) and that she wouldn't see me for 6 months. I told my worker I didn't want my daughter to know this information, I would tell her in my OWN words, but she went behind my back and did this. I called the worker and told her to NO LONGER GO TO MY CHILD'S SCHOOL to talk to her as it only embarrassed her!! My worker is now saying I'm not co-operating with her even though I told her she can meet with my children anywhere BESIDES the school.

If ANYONE can give me advice or a name of an affordable lawyer - I am in great need!!! I was a stay at home mom who NEVER drank or even left the house at night. I was with my kids EVERYDAY AND EVERY NIGHT!!!! This is all LIES.

Source: Facebook

Stealing from Children

December 5, 2011 permalink

The Huffington Post reports in some depth about the problem of foster children burdened with debt created before they age out. Large numbers of caseworkers and foster parents have all the information they need to create credit card accounts in the name of a foster child, then spend up to the limit. The child leaving care is unable to rent housing or purchase a vehicle because of the fraudulent debt. Part of the problem not mentioned in the story is the practice of controlling costs by keeping foster payments low. Needy foster parents may supplement their finances out of necessity.

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Foster Children Struggle To Recover From Identity Theft

Child Identity Theft

SAN DIEGO -- After bouncing between a dozen foster and group homes here in this seaside town where the Pacific shore meets the Laguna Mountains, Mercediz Hand wanted at least one thing in her adult life: a stable home.

But after aging out of foster care, Hand discovered someone had been using her identity since she was 10, taking out a mortgage and racking up $3,000 in unpaid cellphone bills.

Her credit was ruined. This summer, she slept in her car, a 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, because she could not qualify for an apartment. Then her car was repossessed because she defaulted on a loan with a 21 percent interest rate -- the lowest rate that lenders would offer. She finally found a landlord who did not check her credit, but she wants to move because her apartment is infested with roaches and termites.

Sitting outside a coffee shop on a recent afternoon, the 24-year-old mother of two said she is considering filing for bankruptcy.

"It should be easier to get these things fixed, but it's not," she said in an interview. "It doesn't go away."

Experts say foster children are particularly vulnerable to identity theft because their personal information passes through many hands, increasing the chances their Social Security numbers will be used to commit fraud.

Now, lawmakers and child welfare advocates are looking at ways to protect the financial reputations of foster children amid growing concern over child identity theft. With increased frequency, thieves are hijacking children's unblemished Social Security numbers to take out credit cards, car loans and mortgages, thereby destroying the credit histories of young adults.

This fall, President Obama signed a law with a provision that requires all states to run credit checks on older foster children and help resolve cases of identity theft before they age out of the system.

But experts say that is not enough. The real problem, they say, is that foster children's Social Security numbers are overexposed. Matt Cullina, who has adopted three foster children, said he receives five to seven ID cards each year that include their full name, date of birth and Social Security number -- more than enough information to commit identity theft.

"There's probably no other segment of the population that has ID cards with those three pieces of information on it," Cullina, chief executive of Identity Theft 911, said at a July forum on child identity theft.

Rep. James Langevin (D-R.I.) has introduced legislation, the Foster Youth Financial Security Act, that goes further by prohibiting states from using Social Security numbers to identify foster children. The bill, which is still pending, would help protect foster children from identity theft by reducing the public exposure of their sensitive information, according to Amy Harfeld, a policy consultant for the Children's Advocacy Institute in San Diego.

"The point is, we need to stop putting kids' Social Security numbers on their ID cards and passing them around like candy," Harfeld said at the forum, which was hosted by the Federal Trade Commission.

Last year, more than 18,000 child identity theft complaints were reported to the commission, compared with about 6,500 cases in 2003. The increase comes as the recession has left many Americans with greater need for clean sources of credit, making the temptation to hijack a child's pristine record even greater.

But the real figure is probably much higher, experts say, because the crime often goes undetected until victims turn 18 and find their damaged credit is preventing them from acquiring student loans, jobs or apartments. ID Analytics estimates more than 140,000 children are victims of identity theft each year, based on a one-year study of those enrolled in the firm's identity protection service.

The profile of a child identity thief takes different forms. In some cases, family members who have ruined their own credit steal the identities of their children. In others, organized criminals target institutions such as foster homes where children's identities are lying around virtually unguarded.

Last February, Felix Nkansah, 28, of New York, was sentenced to six years in prison for participating in an identity theft ring that stole records of children in foster homes to file fraudulent tax returns.

Experts say such cases highlight the porous security of children's data in foster care, where personnel are focused on protecting children, but not their identities.

"Record management at foster agencies is a joke," Dan Hatcher, a professor at University of Baltimore Law School who does research on poverty issues, said at the forum. "Caseworkers either are not looking for these issues, or when they spot it, they don't know what to do."

In a study of about 2,100 foster children in Los Angeles County, more than 100 children (about 5 percent) had accounts opened in their names, with an average $3,600 in debt. One foster child was found to have a $217,000 home loan, according to the study, which was released in August by the California Office of Privacy Protection, a state agency.

Thieves who steal the identities of foster children are targeting a group that already faces financial obstacles. Less than 3 percent earn four-year college degrees after leaving the foster care system. By age 24, less than half find full-time jobs, and nearly 40 percent have been homeless, according to a study by the Children's Advocacy Institute and First Star, a nonprofit that works with victims of child abuse and neglect.

Mercediz Hand has been homeless twice, but not for a lack of money. She has a steady job working at a homeless shelter. But her credit is so damaged that she and her husband, who ruined his own credit, and their two children, ages 7 and 4, are forced to live in an unsafe neighborhood. On a recent night, a stranger assaulted her outside her apartment, she said.

"I don't want to stay where I'm at. It's not a good neighborhood," Hand said, wearing sunglasses to hide her badly swollen left eye. "But this is the only kind of apartment I can get because my credit is so horrible. I'm renting from anyone who is willing to rent to me."

In the foster care system, a wide range of people have access to a child's Social Security number, including parents, grandparents, foster parents, social workers and group home personnel. Each time a foster child is moved to a new home, their personal information goes with them, further exposing data that should be kept private.

Foster children are also less equipped to fix their credit problems because they do not have the safety net that family often provides, according to Lisa Schifferle, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission. Every year, about 35,000 foster children age out of the system nationwide without being adopted.

"Once these children are emancipated from foster care, clean credit is essential in their process to establishing a strong start to adulthood," Schifferle said at the child identity theft forum.

Foster children are also more likely to become identity theft victims because they come from struggling families who may view their pristine Social Security numbers as a new source of credit, Cullina said. And children are less likely to report family members to police, making it more difficult to remove the fraud from a credit report, he said.

As more foster children have found their credit destroyed, child welfare advocates have sought to help. Over the summer, First Star and Identity Theft 911 taught 30 foster children from around Los Angeles how to protect themselves from identity theft during a five-week training course on the UCLA campus. First Star President Peter Samuelson said he plans to replicate the pilot program, which was funded through donations, across the country next summer.

Here in San Diego, the fallout of identity theft has presented yet another hardship for young adults who have seen their share. Mercediz Hand entered foster care after her uncle, a registered sex offender who lived with her family, tried to molest her, she said.

She discovered her identity had been hijacked when she ran her first credit report at 18. She has only been able to see a report from one of the three credit reporting agencies because she is unable to answer a security question: the amount of her mortgage.

"I keep telling them, 'I didn't open up a mortgage. I have no idea what you're talking about,'" she told The Huffington Post. "I'm a little scared to find out what's on the other reports."

When Suamhirs Rivera aged out of the foster care system in 2008, he tried to apply for an apartment and a cellphone, but was denied. That was when he learned someone had used his identity to rack up $75,000 on 30 credit cards while he was in foster care, he said. His credit score was 350, the lowest possible.

"I didn't know what to do," Rivera said in an interview. "I thought, 'Where the hell am I going to live if I'm not able to rent an apartment? What's going to happen to me? How am I going to get a job or how am I going to be a productive member of society?'"

Rivera, now 21, filed a police report, but still has been unable to remove the debt from his credit report, he said. As a result, he pays steep upfront costs for basic needs, putting down a $460 deposit for a cellphone and a $2,750 deposit for his $795-a-month apartment. He is unable to afford a car because the interest rate would be too high, he said. Three banks have sued him for failure to pay the debt, he said.

"It's been a constant battle," Rivera said.

Helena Kelly
Helena Kelly says banks would not give her loans because her credit was damaged by identity theft.

Helena Kelly, who was placed in foster care at age 10 after her mother went to jail for shoplifting, lived with 14 different people, shuffled between aunts, parents, cousins and a foster home. Along the way, someone stole her identity to take out student loans and lease cars and an apartment, ruining her credit, she said.

Now a full-time student at San Diego City College, Kelly, 22, said banks would not give her a student loan or a car loan because of her bad credit, so she paid for school and bought a car by borrowing government-issued student loans.

She spent three weeks this summer sleeping on friends' couches because she could not qualify for an apartment. She now lives in transitional housing for former foster children, but must leave soon because she is taking custody of her younger sister.

Meanwhile, someone is still using her identity, she said. When she applied for cable recently, she learned she had an outstanding balance dating to when she was 11. Kelly, along with Hand and Rivera, are working on their credit problems with the help of the Children's Advocacy Institute in San Diego.

Kelly said she feels angry that even after leaving foster care, her fate is still not under her control.

"My whole life in foster care, I was punished for choices my parents made," Kelly said. "Now I'm being punished as an adult for choices a stranger made under my name. I just want to live for the actions and choices that I make."

Source: Huffington Post

New Blog

December 5, 2011 permalink

Pat Niagara has provided many photos and videos to fixcas over the past year. Now you can see his work directly on his own blog: CAS ONTARIO.

New Advocate Same as the Old

December 4, 2011 permalink

Alberta is changing its law to make the child advocate responsible directly to the legislature, to keep him independent of the minister of human services. So who will fill the new job? Del Graff, the same man appointed by the ministry before the law was changed.

The Alberta press has for years been restrained by confidentiality laws from using the names of children dying in foster care. Now, thanks to the determination of Jamie Sullivan, who got permission to say her daughter's name in public, they can illustrate their stories with the case of the late Delonna Sullivan.

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Independent child advocate long overdue, critics say

Jamie Sullivan and Marilyn Koren
Jamie Sullivan (left) flips through photos of her daughter Delonna, as her mother Marilyn Koren looks on.
CBC

People who work for children in care are hailing a new Alberta law that will make the child and youth advocate independent of cabinet.

Bill 25, which is expected to be passed next week, makes the advocate an officer of the Alberta legislature, a change critics should have happened years ago.

Bob Rechner
Bob Rechner served as Alberta Child Advocate from 1997 to 2001.
CBC

"I'm very very pleased that our new premier has the courage to proceed with something like this," said former child advocate Bob Rechner. "I think it's vitally important. It's long overdue."

Rechner pushed the government to make the position more independent while he was the advocate from 1997 to 2001. But nothing happened.

"I think government was fearful that an advocate who really had independence would embarrass them," he said.

After years of criticism about secrecy surrrounding deaths of children in care and problems in Alberta's foster care system, critics say it looks like the government is finally listening.

Current advocate appointed by minister

Jamie Sullivan's four-month-old daughter Delonna died in foster care on April 11, six days after she was taken by social workers who had gone to the home to apprehend children of an unrelated person who also lived there.

Sullivan, who successfully won a court order allowing the media to publicly identify her daughter, still doesn't know the circumstances around her Delonna's death or why she was removed in the first place.

Sullivan hopes the new legislation will open up the province's child welfare system to allow people like her to get answers.

"They can no longer keep these things to themselves and that's one of the biggest things is that they cover up and that they hide everything that goes on that's bad, so nobody ever knows and nobody ever sees and they just continue," she says.

Opposition parties welcome the new legislation but they question whether the current advocate, Del Graff, can be truly independent because he was appointed by the minister responsible for child and youth issues.

They want an all-party committee to hire a new advocate — something Rechner agrees should happen.

"I don't know the person that's currently in the role. I couldn't say if they're doing a good job or not a good job, I don't really know," he says. "But I think this job then becomes substantially different. A person should be recruited to it by an all-party committee of the Legislature."

However, Premier Alison Redford says that won't happen. Graff just started his five-year term in June.

Source: CBC

Penetrating the Wall of Secrecy

December 3, 2011 permalink

In two British cases the seizure of children has left their parents in jail awaiting trial on criminal charges. Christopher Booker says these oppressive charges may come with a silver lining — the more open process of criminal court may allow the public to learn about the child seizures.

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Behind a wall of secrecy, parents who lost their children are now in jail

Lord Justice Wall has personally taken over two curious and troubling cases.

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

There have been more disturbing developments in our secretive family protection court system. Two cases involving parents whose children were taken from them by social workers have been so curious that I have reported on them here more than any others. Each, having previously been heard by more junior judges, has now been taken over personally by Lord Justice Wall, head of the Family Division.

In one case, involving a mother who had escaped to Ireland to avoid having her unborn child seized at birth, Wall in September delivered a public judgment, based on his reading of two hearings by earlier judges, whose judgments he ordered to be published. (They have still not appeared.) Recently, the mother returned from Ireland, leaving her baby behind, to face criminal charges which she imagined were so odd that she would be acquitted. Instead she was remanded in custody by magistrates, to await trial in the new year. Until then she must remain in prison, separated from her seven-month-old child.

The husband and wife in the second case, whose children were removed last year, recently appeared before Lord Justice Wall, after dozens of hearings in the family courts – never with proper legal representation, up against a whole battery of lawyers bent on keeping their children from them. On leaving court at the end of the latest hearing before Wall, they were arrested and sent to separate prisons. Last week they were charged in a magistrates’ court with a string of criminal offences and are also being held on remand without bail.

Thus all three parents, separated from the children they love, are now in cells, on charges against which they have not yet had the chance to defend themselves. The only advantage of this is that these people will at least be appearing in criminal courts, where they may at last be legally represented, and where evidence can be tested according to the very different rules that apply in such courts, where evidence based on assertion and hearsay is not normally allowed.

It may also be possible, therefore, to report rather more of these unhappy stories than has been possible under the claustrophobic rules of the family court system, which fiercely protects itself from public view behind such a wall of secrecy (no pun intended). As Jeremy Bentham wisely remarked, “publicity is the very soul of justice … only in proportion as publicity has place can any of the checks, applicable to judicial injustice, operate. Where there is no publicity there is no justice.”

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Strike Settled

December 2, 2011 permalink

An agreement has been reached in the strike against Kawartha-Haliburton CAS in Peterborough, subject only to a membership vote.

A cynical but perceptive reader warns that this CAS will go on a child-snatching spree to make up for apprehensions, and consequent funding, lost during the strike.

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CAS reach tentative deal

Local CAS workers are expected to vote this afternoon

(PETERBOROUGH) A tentative deal has been reached between Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society and its workers.

OPSEU Local 334 president Jennifer Smith says the bargaining team is recommending their members accept the deal. A vote will likely be taken Friday afternoon.

About 120 workers have been on strike since Oct. 17, since which management have been carrying out the work mandated by the Province.

Several weeks ago management made an offer to employees that the bargaining unit did not recommend, which was rejected with an 85 per cent vote.

Since then, Hugh Nicholson was replaced with an interim executive director, Suzanne Geoffrion, until a permanent replacement is found in the new year.

Source: MyKawartha Peterborough This Week

Peterborough Rally

December 2, 2011 permalink

Kawartha-Haliburton CAS logo

A rally group of two people was enough to scare away the strikers at Kawartha-Haliburton CAS in Peterborough.

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Ja Johns

Ja Johns Great weather, it was great meeting Chad LeBreton today during our rally. Petitions signatures gathered, lots of support of passers-by, especially the ones that said they will not support our work ethics, then realized we were protesting CAS!! lol. The strikers were out at the back driveway at 9am, then disappeared. Talked with one very vocal observant of the the striking workers and he said their biggest concern was money and he was not impressed with CAS's ability to protect the children!!

Source: Facebook

Former Foster Girl Killed

December 2, 2011 permalink

A girl who grew up in and out of Manitoba foster care turned to prostitution and was murdered in Toronto on November 29. She was Leanne Josephine (Amanda) Freeman.

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Winnipeg woman shot dead in Toronto was sex-worker; cops issue warning

Leanne Freeman
Leanne Freeman
Toronto Police Service Handout

A Winnipeg woman found bleeding on the street near Toronto's waterfront this week was a sex-trade worker who had been shot in the head, police said Thursday.

Det.-Sgt. Brian Borg said tips suggest Leanne Freeman, 23, had been working the streets for “some period” of time.

However, Borg said he could not link her killing to her work.

“I cannot say with any certainty whatsoever that Leanne's employment has anything to do with her murder,” he said.

“I am also unable to say at this time that it does not - I cannot rule it out.”

Borg said police were warning sex-trade workers to protect themselves.

A badly wounded Freeman was found lying in the middle of a road, and died early Tuesday after being taken to hospital.

Earlier this week, her aunt said Freeman had led a hard life, growing up in and out of foster care and grappling with drug addiction.

Mariann Freeman, who lives in Alberta, said her niece didn't deserve to die the way she did.

“It doesn't matter what somebody does, no matter what the crime was,” Freeman said.

“Who could bring themselves to putting a gun to that beautiful girl's head and pulling the trigger on her?”

Freeman was facing drug possession and trafficking charges in Winnipeg in June along with possessing property obtained by crime.

A warrant was issued for her arrest after she failed to appear in court.

Borg said Freeman led a transient lifestyle and had a history of drug use.

She faced drug charges in York Region but did not have a criminal record, he said.

While her family is from Winnipeg, Freeman moved to Toronto during the summer and may have slept in shelters as far away as in Sudbury, Ont., he said.

Police are appealing for information about her whereabouts in the days leading up to her death.

Source: Metro News

High-priced prostitute Kera Jane Gray Freeland went missing from Toronto on January 15 after reporting to her roommate that she was having a bad date. Her body was found in Caledon on March 17. She spent her early years in foster care, was adopted at age 7, moved to a group home at age 14 and died at age 20. Her ADHD diagnosis likely means she was drugged.

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‘Somebody knows something,’ says mother of deceased escort

Kera Freeland
Kera Freeland in her younger days. In March, her body was found in a Caledon ditch; she was 20 years old.
SUPPLIED PHOTO

It’s been almost three months since Kera Freeland’s body was found in a ditch in Caledon, and yet there are still no answers about how she died or who could be responsible.

In an exclusive interview with the Toronto Star, Freeland’s adoptive mother spoke for the first time Thursday and shared pictures of her daughter as she appealed for more information on Kera’s death at age 20.

“Somebody knows something,” Denise Freeland said from Calgary, where she works in the oil and gas industry. “I don’t believe she was likely to take her own life. She didn’t get there by herself. She didn’t drive and didn’t even have a driver’s licence.”

Kera, whom her mother described as a vivacious young woman who loved people and animals and showed artistic talent, had started working for a Toronto escort agency in December and was last seen by friends in mid-January. A friend of Kera’s notified police that Freeland was missing.

The young woman’s body was found March 17. Denise still remembers getting the dreaded phone call.

“I was pretty much in shock,” she said.

Kera had told her mother she was working in modeling. But it was no surprise to her mom that she went astray through her adolescent years and showed a wanderlust.

“Did she make some bad choices? Yes,” Denise said. “We were afraid for her.”

But Kera had a “positive attitude” that made her adorable, especially among children who would seek her out.

Denise and her husband adopted Freeland as an “endearing little girl” with a gift for art when she was 7. They had also adopted a son who was 12 when Kera joined the family.

Prior to her adoption, Kera had experienced much change and much loss after her birth mother, a struggling divorced woman with two children, gave her up for adoption. She moved from one foster home to another.

Diagnosed with ADHD early on, she displayed extremes in emotions and was more vocally angry than other children.

But Denise and her husband saw so much that was positive about Kera. She loved studying and sought the approval of her teachers. She loved to ride horses, but didn’t like to tell the horses what to do “because that was mean.”

And she learned a passion for travel after her parents took her to England, France and California.

However, Freeland’s independent streak and strong emotions eventually led her to leave home at 14, when she moved into a group home.

When Freeland showed an interest in recreational drugs, her family and social workers tried to intervene and were met with her hot temper.

Another problem that may have put her in harm’s way: “She believed the best in people and until the day she died she never believed anyone would hurt her,” Denise said. “She wasn’t afraid of anything.”

After Freeland left home, she and Denise stayed in touch. But as the young woman became more adventurous, their personal contact became less frequent.

Denise last heard from Freeland in mid-December, when her daughter texted her. “Hi, Mom. I’m in Toronto. I’m doing some modelling. Love you. Merry Christmas.” No indication she was having problems.

The next time she saw her daughter, Denise was in Toronto claiming her body.

She never saw Freeland in the casket, nor did any other friends. She was advised not to look.

Denise doesn’t know how she died, but she hopes the answers will come.

The Ontario Provincial Police have assured her that this is an active case and police are withholding some information to protect the integrity of the investigation.

The OPP’s homicide detectives have said that they are still awaiting test results to determine the cause of death. Her death has not officially been classified a homicide. It’s possible Freeland’s body was in the Caledon ditch for up to two months.

The escort agency she worked for, Cachet Ladies, put out a news release shortly after Freeland’s death to say she worked with the agency from Dec. 6 to Dec. 20. She told the agency she would be travelling to British Columbia to undergo treatment for cervical cancer, but would be back.

If Freeland had cervical cancer, Denise didn’t know about it. She also didn’t know if she was pregnant, as a close friend indicated.

Freeland recalls her daughter as a beautiful woman who loved to read and had such a gift for words that she thought that Kera “would have been a really good lawyer.”

Denise adds, “But someone helped take away her choices, her chance to grow up and mature and took away her potential. Right now, I’ve got to show some faith that the police are doing everything they can.”

Source: Toronto Star

Addendum: We amended the headline after a reader pointed out that identifying the victim as "foster/prostitute" was disrespectful of the woman involved.

Celebrity Child Care

December 2, 2011 permalink

California CPS has placed the child of actor Jeremy London with his mother-in-law. A case for readers who think that fame and fortune constitute protection against abuse by social services.

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Jeremy London's Estranged Wife Told To 'Stay Away' From Their Son By CPS

Jeremy London and Melissa Cunningham
WENN

Jeremy London’s estranged wife accused him of violence during an argument over their son, and RadarOnline.com exclusively learned that Child Protective Services stepped in after the ordeal.

Jeremy has a four-year-old son, Lyrik, with Melissa Cunningham, but Melissa’s mother has had full adoptive custody of the boy for more than a year.

“CPS got really concerned when they heard about the allegations of violence and all the drama surrounding the whole incident,” an insider told RadarOnline.com.

“They showed up at the home where Lyrik is living and made it clear that Melissa had to go.”

According to the source, Melissa hasn’t been around up until about a month ago when she moved back in with her mother.

“It’s unclear how long Melissa was planning on staying, but CPS gave the ultimatum that she had to go or Lyrik would be removed,” the source said.

As RadarOnline.com was first to report, the Palm Springs Police Department wanted to chat with Jeremy about a mid-November incident in which Melissa said the two got into an argument over the custody of Lyrik, and Jeremy turned violent.

However, RadarOnline.com later discovered that Melissa had provoked the alleged incident to “create drama” for a reality-TV show she was trying to get on.

“Melissa has been recently contacted by a reality show wanting her to appear as a ‘celebrity ex-wife,’” a source said.

“She left messages with several of her friends and family members last week saying that the show wanted her to create conflict and drama between herself and Jeremy, and specifically they wanted her to create a scenario that makes Jeremy look bad.”

Jeremy’s rep also denied the allegations that he touched Melissa.

“This is a false allegation and we understand that the police have to follow protocol in issuing an arrest warrant -- standard when any woman files a complaint of domestic abuse. However, no such abuse occurred and these allegations will soon be proven false,” Jeremy’s rep, Dominic Frisen said.

RadarOnline.com has learned the Palm Springs Police Department has turned over the case to the District Attorney who will decide whether or not they will proceed with charges.

Source: Radar Online

Taxing the Poor

December 1, 2011 permalink

What does California do when their welfare system makes a mistake and overpays a client? They collect the overpayment from a relative, even a child when that's all they can find.

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Lawsuit seeks to stop welfare debt collection from children

law suit

SACRAMENTO (KGO) -- The California Department of Social Services is facing a lawsuit for the way it's recovering some welfare debts. The state has been targeting children and forcing them to pay back money their parents owe.

Seventy-five-year-old Clarence Ayers has never faced a debt collector like this. He received a letter from the welfare office earlier this year saying his 14-year-old great-granddaughter, Irene L., owes nearly $3,000 for benefits her mother should not have gotten while pregnant with Irene. Now Irene's current $334 a month government aid is being cut until the debt is paid.

"I never knew that," Ayers said. "I knew they went after grown-up people, and people that don't pay child support, but not children."

Jamie H. of Riverside County is now a college student and she, too, got a demand letter to pay back benefits her family received when she was 16 years old. Her wages and tax refund are being garnished -- money she needs for school.

"Obviously, the state's gone out of bounds on this," Mike Herald with the Western Center on Law and Poverty said. "It's just overzealous."

The Western Center on Law and Poverty has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the two girls. It wants the state to stop this practice that has been going on for years.

"You're allowed to recover from the parents and a grandparent, if they're part of an assistance unit," Herald said. "But there's nothing in state law that says you can take money back from a child."

The California Department of Social Services says it's sensitive to the overpayment issue, but state law mandates that counties first go after the adults associated with the case when seeking a refund of benefits.

"When those efforts are fully exhausted, the county is required to seek recoupment of overpayments from any individual that was an aided member of a family case," Michael Weston with the California Department of Social Services said in a statement.

"They're supposed to protect their child. So why would the state do that? They're not protecting that child," Ayers said. "They're victimizing that child."

The lawsuit also wants the state to refund all the money it has collected from children over the years for welfare debt. Oftentimes, the overpayments were due to a clerical error.

Source: KGO-TV San Francisco

More Money for CAS

December 1, 2011 permalink

The purpose of the Youth Leaving Care Hearings is now clear. It is to promote the agenda of the child welfare system.

The actual hearings are not on the internet. There is a TVO program hosted by Steve Paikin discussing foster care with three experts, all adoptive parents, and two former crown wards:

The discussion was limited to making life better for foster children, especially crown wards. The solution? More money for social services.

Vern Beck spoke at the hearings, but Mr Paikin did not invite him, or any other genuine critic, to his discussion. The more important problem was never raised. Children are separated from their real families by force of arms. No one considered that more money for services means more incentive to snatch children to receive that money. Even one of the participants, AJ, pointed out that spending money on services is not beneficial. As a crown ward, everything was paid for, leaving him with a monetary illiteracy. The two young participants also described the strained connection with the social worker having the legal responsibilities of a parent. A curious paradox: Mary Ballantyne took the chance to criticize the amount of paperwork done by caseworkers. It takes time away from caring for their wards. Yet whenever there is a scandal, for example the death of a child in care, child protectors impose solutions requiring more paperwork, background checks or new computer systems.

At 38:10 Paikin tries to get AJ to speak favorably of adoption. AJ nixes the idea because it would have broken up what relationship he still had with his mother. Will Falk changed the subject.

Here is the audio Ontario's Crown Wards Need Us to be Better Parents (mp3). The TVO write-up of its program is below.

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Normally, hearings are a boring affair. They are held in aggressively lit rooms where well-educated people submit passionate but dry proposals to another group of well-educated people who can potentially change some piece of legislation at a date years in the future, to alter this or that outcome (hopefully for the better).

For the past two Fridays I've spent the better part of my day at the Youth Leaving Care Hearings held by the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, led by Irwin Elman. And they were anything but boring. These hearings had it all … passionate submissions by youth and adults alike, singing, theatre and substance.

The issue of Youth leaving care is a serious one.

Almost 17,000 of Ontario's 3.1 million children are in the care of Children's Aid Societies. Approximately half are crown wards, which essentially makes the government their parent. Just 44 per cent of youth in care graduate from high school compared to 81 per cent of the general population. Among homeless youth, 68 per cent have come from foster homes, group homes and/or a youth centre. Up to 71 per cent of homeless youth have had previous criminal justice involvement.

Some of the personal stories were absolutely heartbreaking. One young woman had managed to beat the considerable odds against her and make it into a post-secondary institution only to find out that the cost of her books was not covered by the government, as she had been told by her social worker. Most kids (I'm sorry but even though she was over 18 she still seemed like a kid to me) would have phoned their parents and asked for a loan, but when the province is your parent and they make a mistake you have nowhere to turn. Luckily this young woman managed to get by but imagine if she had had to drop out of school for want of $500.

Many of these youth have seen and experienced things in their short lives that would break other people. Many are socially and emotionally immature and will themselves admit that. Certainly their case workers, foster parents and therapists know this. And still, if they are not enrolled in school at the age of 18 they are cut off from receiving assistance. If they are enrolled in school they receive assistance until the age of 21. How many people can say, that by the age of 21, they have never once had to turn to their parents for financial or emotional support? Not many. Not me. And yet we, as a society, abandon the most vulnerable at the very beginning of their adult lives. Talk about sink or swim!

It was impossible not to be moved by the stories: the gratitude a 16-year-old expressed for being adopted into a family. Gratitude for just having parents at all. And so it is also nearly impossible not to want to see change in the system to improve the lives and the outcomes for these kids. These are people who have lived with too much pain, for whom life has not been in any way fair. So many of the solutions they proposed seemed, to my ears at least, infinitely logical and simple: give the kids some life skills training and some financial literacy before cutting them off. What kind of parent wouldn't do that? A crappy one, that's what kind.

Do you want to be a crappy parent? I sure don't, but every taxpayer in this province is a parent to these kids and we have a duty to hold the government to account. These are tough economic times and I don't envy the government's choices. But to keep ignoring these kids is, well, not okay. It just isn't.

It's time to pay attention to this issue, Ontario.

Source: TVO

Additional commentary from Anne Patterson:

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Underwood is an adopter, and a former board member of the Toronto CAS, an agency that was cited with three others in the Jim McCarter audit for; wining and dining, trips to the Carribean with children (which is highly suspect), 60K SUVs, and various other breaches such as not bothering to check on children, doing police checks and disregarding procedures.

Underwood is not an expert on child welfare, but was appointed to the three panel committee to study this. She comes from the health care sector, and is involved with the LHINs.

Underwood is the former advisor to Dr. Alan Hudson a prominent figure that stepped down over the e-health scandal.

E-health is also connected to Will Falk as his wife was childhood friends with Sarah Kramer, and he was her reference bringing her to the e-health chair.

In the discussion Mary Ballantyne shows her soft side. For her other side, recall that she was executive director of Simcoe CAS in Barrie when Natalie was apprehended. Read the article Police Remove Girl or just watch the video (mp4).

Two-faced woman

Governor vs CPS

November 30, 2011 permalink

A brouhaha has been developing in Kentucky for the past few months over records of children dying in foster care. A judge had previously ordered the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CPS) to give a newspaper records of foster children who died or nearly died. Now Governor Steve Beshear has announced that the records will be released.

Fixcas will be watching this case. Past confrontations between elected government and child protection bureaucrats over record disclosure have been won by the bureaucracy. California keeps records of dead children secret even after a law requiring their publication.

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Beshear orders release of state records on child abuse, neglect deaths

Steve Beshear
Gov. Steve Beshear announced he was directing the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services to open records of cases in which child abuse or neglect resulted in a child fatality or near fatality during a press conference at the Capitol in Frankfort on Tuesday.
PABLO ALCALA | STAFF

FRANKFORT — After repeated calls for more transparency, and multiple lawsuits, Gov. Steve Beshear announced Tuesday that the state will release records of children who have been killed or nearly killed as a result of abuse or neglect.

At a Capitol news conference, Beshear announced that he also will introduce legislation in the upcoming session that would create an independent review panel to look at child fatalities and near fatalities and will propose legislation that would make it mandatory for the state to release records of such deaths.

In addition, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services will conduct a thorough review of the child-protection system and make changes if necessary, he said.

But not long after the press conference, the cabinet filed a motion in Franklin Circuit Court in a legal battle, saying it wanted to turn over heavily edited or redacted versions of the records.

Beshear acknowledged that some information would be redacted, but he said, "Transparency will be the new rule.

"Many experts, including those in Kentucky, adamantly believe that a system that stresses confidentiality is in the best interest of the child and usually leads to better outcomes. Their concerns are legitimate. But I think the time has come — given the horrifying details of a few cases — for the balance to tip toward increased openness."

The Lexington Herald-Leader and The Courier-Journal had sued the state over the records of children who died while under supervision of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which oversees child protection.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd has ruled twice that the two newspapers were entitled to the records. State law says that child-protection records are private with one clear exemption: the deaths or near-deaths of children resulting from abuse or neglect, if the children had previous contact with the cabinet.

Beshear's announcement came a day before a Wednesday hearing about whether the cabinet was going to turn over the records as Shepherd ruled Nov. 3.

The two newspapers have asked that Shepherd issue an injunction and make the cabinet turn over the documents by Dec. 2, and they have requested that the state list all fatality and near-fatality cases in which the cabinet conducted an internal review.

The cabinet's 21-page motion asked that Shepherd deny the injunction and that he order the release of redacted versions of the records. The cabinet argues that it is common practice for state and federal governments to redact such things as Social Security numbers and other identifying information. In addition, the cabinet wants to redact the names of people who report abuse and a host of other information.

That's not transparency, said Jon Fleischaker, a Louisville lawyer who represents the newspapers. Shepherd's previous rulings are clear: The cabinet must turn over all the records, Fleischaker said.

"It's outrageous," Fleischaker said. "How many times are they going to argue this?"

The cabinet has repeatedly argued that releasing the documents — which detail the state's involvement in a child's life — could run afoul of federal privacy laws and cause the loss of federal funding.

The cabinet argued in the motion filed Tuesday that no state allows full disclosure of child fatality records.

Beshear said Tuesday that how those documents will be released will be determined after the hearing Wednesday in Shepherd's court.

When asked why the cabinet decided to turn over the records after nearly two years of legal fights and tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, Beshear said the issue was complicated.

"This is a very complex issue because it involves the safety and protection of children. ... If you review the statutes of the 50 states, you will see statutes all over the place."

Kentucky's laws are permissive, saying the cabinet may release the records, Beshear said. He said he will propose legislation in the next session that would make it mandatory for the state to release such records.

"There is still a lot of gray area out there," and the legislature should fully debate the issue, Beshear said. "Mandatory disclosure should be accompanied by clear guidance by the General Assembly."

Fleischaker countered that Beshear is wrong.

Shepherd already has ruled in several cases that it is mandatory for the state to turn over the records, Fleischaker said.

"Any legislative effort can only hurt us and hurt the public since it is now all open," Fleischaker said.

Beshear said that under his proposed legislation, an independent panel of doctors, social workers, forensic experts and law enforcement officers would review all cases of child fatalities and near-fatalities in which the cabinet was involved. The panel would then determine what needed to be changed, Beshear said.

"More than any other step, this will improve our system of child protection," Beshear said.

Beshear has pushed similar legislation in previous sessions. But earlier bills, which failed to pass, would have kept secret much of the information regarding the fatalities. Beshear said Tuesday that he would want the panel and its decisions to be open.

Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, the longtime chairman of the House Health and Welfare Committee, said Tuesday that he supported Beshear's efforts but that he cannot support any measure that does not increase transparency in child protection. Burch and Sen. Julie Denton, his Republican counterpart in the Senate, have said they want to hold hearings in December about child fatalities as a result of abuse and neglect.

"I think it's a good first step," Burch said. "I would hope that it would include full transparency, not only in that cabinet but in all cabinets."

One of the state's leading advocates for children applauded Beshear for pushing to improve child protection.

"Today was an important beginning," said Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. "But it was only a beginning."

Brooks said the legislature should conduct a comprehensive review of the state's child protection system.

Both newspapers had sued the cabinet in 2010 to access records regarding the death of Kayden Branham, a 20-month-old Wayne County boy who died after drinking drain cleaner allegedly used to make methamphetamine. Shepherd ruled the cabinet had to turn over the records in that case. The records showed that the cabinet never did a fatality review, which it is required to do by law.

The two newspapers then filed requests under the state's Open Records Act, asking for more records on children who have died as a result of abuse and neglect. The cabinet denied those requests and the newspapers sued the cabinet again in January.

In another case, the Todd County Standard, a weekly newspaper in Western Kentucky, sued the cabinet over records involving Amy Dye, a 9-year-old girl who was beaten to death by her adoptive brother in February. The cabinet at first told the Todd County Standard that it had no records regarding Dye's case because it did not do an internal fatality review of Amy Dye's death since the death was a result of abuse by a sibling, not a parent or adult who had custody of Amy.

Shepherd, in a ruling that ordered the cabinet to release records in Dye's case, criticized the cabinet's handling of repeated reports of possible mistreatment of Amy Dye in the years before her death.

Beshear said Tuesday that he had confidence in the state's case workers: "They have one of the most difficult jobs that exist." Beshear also said he had full confidence in Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Janie Miller.

Source: Lexington Herald Leader

As a rule the bureaucracy wants to conceal the children that died in its care, and expose those dying in parental care. That pattern is continuing in Kentucky, where the first release of documents was redacted, suppressing the most sensitive names. The only new name in this article is Jaislyn Green, a baby who died in parental care. The bureaucracy has won the first round.

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Kentucky begins releasing child-death records; newspaper questions redactions

Rylee Jean Campbell
Three-month-old Rylee Jean Campbell died in 2010 at University of Kentucky Hospital. Her father, Paul S. Farthing Jr., 30, was charged with murder in her death. This is a picture of a photo provided by Paul Farthing Sr. of Richmond.
GREG KOCHER | STAFF

The state began releasing documents Monday about dozens of children who were killed or nearly killed from neglect and abuse in 2009 and 2010.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services released redacted versions of 85 internal reviews that it conducted of deaths and near-deaths in cases in which it had previous contact with the family. Of those cases, 35 involved deaths and 43 involved near-deaths. In seven instances, it was unclear from the documents whether the child died.

The 353 pages are the first batch of many documents that Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd has ordered the cabinet to turn over to the Lexington Herald-Leader and The Courier-Journal of Louisville.

However, much of the information contained in the reports — including the names of at least eight children who died as a result of abuse and neglect and the names of people charged with their deaths — had been redacted.

Robert Houlihan Jr., a lawyer for the Herald-Leader, said the newspaper will challenge the state's many redactions in court.

"That is totally contrary to the letter and the spirit of the judge's ruling," Houlihan said of withholding the names of children who died. "Where there has been a fatality, there can be no justification that I see to redact that name of the dead victim."

A Herald-Leader review of the documents shows a lack of consistency in how the cabinet conducts internal reviews, which are required by law after a death or a near-death of a child who has had previous contact with the cabinet.

Some reviews are lengthy and thorough, including an analysis of what social workers could do differently to prevent similar deaths. But some internal reviews consist of one page that doesn't even say whether the child died.

Terry Brooks, the executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said it's difficult to say whether the internal reviews are generating long-term solutions that protect children, which is what they were intended to do.

"If children dying does not demand a formalized process, you have to ask yourself, what does?" Brooks said. "If you don't have the protocols that produce data on which you can make decisions, then you're missing the boat."

The reports show that substance abuse and domestic violence were chronic problems for families in which children were killed or badly hurt. The documents also show that most child fatalities were preceded by multiple reports of suspected child abuse or neglect.

The documents were released after a two-year legal battle between the newspapers and the cabinet, which oversees child protection.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd has ruled twice in the past two years, most recently on Nov. 3, that child-protection records in the case of a death or near-death should be public. But the cabinet resisted releasing the records until Gov. Steve Beshear announced Nov. 29 that they would be made public.

Christina Heavrin, general counsel for the cabinet, told Shepherd during a Nov. 30 court hearing that it will release about 180 case files at a later date after the state has redacted certain information from the files. The cabinet has said it will have to hire temporary staff to help with those redactions. The case files will contain more detailed information than the internal fatality reviews.

In the documents released Monday, the cabinet redacted the names of some children who died from neglect and abuse and withheld the names of all children who were seriously injured. In the written protocol that it provided workers who redacted the information, the cabinet said it would be improper to include the names of children who nearly died because "the trauma the child already suffered should not result in a constant reminder by releasing his/her identity."

In many cases, the cabinet also withheld the names of people who allegedly abused or killed children; the counties where fatalities and near-fatalities occurred; and the names of people against whom allegations of abuse were substantiated.

In one instance, the cabinet redacted the name of a hospital where a one-year-old child — who had ingested some of his mother's prescription drugs — was initially treated in August 2009.

Some information that the cabinet took out would be public in other places. The name of a man who faced criminal charges for allegedly throwing an infant to the floor in April 2009 was deleted. However, criminal charges are public record.

Houlihan said the newspaper would have to look closely at the issue of redacting the names of injured children and address that with Shepherd.

Houlihan said there was nothing in Shepherd's order that would allow the cabinet to withhold the names of people that it decided had abused or neglected children. He also said there was no discussion of allowing the cabinet to redact the names of people charged with crimes.

"That seems to be turning this whole thing on its head," he said.

During a recent court hearing, Shepherd said only a limited amount of information, such as Social Security numbers and names of other minor children in the family, should be redacted from the files.

The cabinet is required by statute to conduct internal fatality reviews for "any case where child abuse or neglect has resulted in a child fatality or near-fatality and the cabinet had prior involvement with the child or family."

According to the statute, those reviews must provide a summary that includes an account of the cabinet's actions in the child's life and "any policy or personnel changes" that resulted in the child's death, and they should note what type of assistance the agency received from outside agencies.

During the Nov. 30 court hearing, Heavrin said the internal reviews are informal and that there are no standard forms or uniform summaries of the internal reviews.

Some of the documents review by the Herald-Leader on Monday contained limited information about the cabinet's previous involvement in the family's life and little or no information about potential changes to cabinet policy.

For example, little follow-up is noted in a March 2, 2009, near-fatality review of a child who went into cardiac arrest and was taken to the Kosair Hospital emergency room with bleeding on the brain, a lacerated liver, and bruising in his eyes, back and abdomen. There is nothing in the report that shows that the cabinet looked at previous reports of abuse or tried to determine whether there were things the cabinet could do better.

In contrast, social workers who did an internal review of the death of Jaislyn Green, a 20-day-old infant who suffocated in January 2009 while sleeping with her mother on the couch, looked at the cabinet's previous involvement and listed several areas of improvement.

The day after Jaislyn Green's death, the mother tested positive for opiates and other drugs. The cabinet had received previous reports that the parents were on drugs and apparently had opened a case file. In its review, the cabinet found that it should not have accepted that the parents were unable to pay for drug testing.

"Staff should have considered filing a petition in court due to their lack of compliance," the internal review found. The review also found that hospital personnel need to understand the importance of drug testing infants and mothers at the time of birth.

Jill Midkiff, a spokeswoman for the cabinet, said the reviews have generated long-term changes at the cabinet.

"Specifically, in early 2011, the agency used information from the internal reviews, in conjunction with information from other sources, to develop a new protocol for consultations related to investigations of abuse of children age 4 and under — the age group most likely to experience lethal abuse," Midkiff said.

State law also requires the cabinet to submit an annual report by Sept. 1 to the legislature and the governor that contains "analysis of all summaries of internal reviews" from the previous year.

Child advocates and some lawmakers have criticized the cabinet for failing to meet the Sept. 1 deadline the past two years. This year and in 2010, the cabinet did not provide the report until December.

There have been at least two cases since 2009 involving a child death from abuse and neglect when the cabinet has admitted that the required internal review was not conducted.

In 2009, the Herald-Leader and Courier-Journal sued the cabinet for records about 20-month-old Kayden Daniels, also known as Kayden Branham, who died after drinking drain cleaner allegedly used in the production of methamphetamine.

Kayden and his mother, who was then 14, were under the supervision of the cabinet at the time of his death. The cabinet admitted in court proceedings that no one had conducted an internal review after Kayden's death.

Cabinet officials also admitted this year that no one conducted an internal review after the death of Amy Dye, 9, of Todd County, who was beaten to death in February by her adoptive brother. Cabinet officials have said they did not think the cabinet had to do an internal review of Amy's death because Amy was killed by her brother and not a custodial parent.

The cabinet had told the Todd County Standard, a weekly newspaper, that it had no records regarding Amy or her family when the newspaper asked for the cabinet's records involving Amy shortly after her death in February.

The newspaper sued the cabinet, and Shepherd subsequently released documents showing that the cabinet had received multiple reports about possible abuse and neglect of Amy in the years before her death.

The cabinet has said Amy's death was not included in the 18 child fatalities listed in the 2011 report that it sent lawmakers earlier this month. The omission has many child advocates and legislators concerned about the validity of the cabinet's reports to the legislature.

Rep. Tom Burch, a co-chairman of the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare, said early Monday that most of the panel's Dec. 19 meeting will be about the cabinet's handling of child-fatality cases.

Source: Lexington Herald Leader

Union Solidarity

November 30, 2011 permalink

On October 21 members of CUPE 3908 walked the picket line in support of striking Peterborough CAS workers, members of OPSEU Local 334. The CUPE local "is made up of over five hundred talented and dedicated contract faculty and student academic workers at Trent University" (quoted from their website).

The academic workers share the union experience with the child protection workers. They differ in the function they provide. University workers provide the invaluable function of educating the next generation. Fixcas invites members of OPSEU Local 334 to use their talent and dedication to learn the real function of children's aid societies. In addition to fixcas.com, you can look at Canada Court Watch for information. We hope it will change your attitude toward joining CAS workers again.

In a second enclosed item the CAS union and management agreed to resume talks yesterday.

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CUPE 3908 supports striking CAS workers

CUPE 3908 members walked the OPSEU Local 334 picket line in solidarity this morning. The Kawartha-Haliburton Children's Aid workers (members of the OPSEU Local 334) have been without a contract for some months and now the managers have refused to negotiate. We talked with many of the workers who maintain that their demands are quite simple: workload caps and safer working conditions. These workers provide extremely important services for our community and that their bosses are refusing to negotiate over such basic demands for social workers and staff is appalling.

CUPE 3908 stands in solidarity with OPSEU Local 334. Please go visit their picket line (at the top of Chemong on Tower Hill Road - you can't miss them), and give them some support.

Source: Facebook


CAS set to go back to table on Tuesday

Employees hope an end to ongoing strike is near

Employees from the Kawartha-Haliburton Children's Aid Society are hoping that by heading back to the negotiating table today an end to their ongoing strike is near.

It has been approximately two weeks since representatives of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 334 met with management to reach a settlement, said Jennifer Smith, president of local 334.

On the picket line since Oct. 17, frontline staff members of the organization have been in talks with management about caseload size, hours of work and standards.

Smith said the approximately 140 employees she represents are ready to get back to the table and back to work.

"We offered to meet earlier so we're not too happy having to wait this long when the interim executive director has been here for a while," said Smith.

Earlier this month the board of directors put former executive director Hugh Nicholson on administrative leave. Nicholson was scheduled to retire from the agency at the end of this year.

Suzanne Geoffrion has been appointed the interim director.

Smith is unsure why the delay in negotiations has occurred but believes the decision to put Nicholson on leave was a step in the right direction.

"They had a mandate to provide service to this region and we have tried for years to resolve these issues. At our last go around at the bargaining table it was pretty clear once they gave us our final offer and our membership rejected it by 85 per cent that Mr. Nicholson wasn't able to resolve the issues to our satisfaction," said Smith, who has served as president of local 334 for the past three years.

Smith said the former director wouldn't even meet the union halfway and that employees have given up a significant amount in terms of demands.

"As a result of that I think the board realized matters were not going to be resolved soon enough with him in that position," she said.

Now in their sixth week of striking, picketers have streamlined their efforts to the Peterborough office, moving away from the Haliburton and Lindsay locations, said Smith.

"There's just more activity there [Peterborough]," said Smith in regards to the decision to move.

Since the strike began both the Haliburton and Lindsay offices have been closed. All services have been conducted by management staff at the Peterborough office.

Management has maintained that essential services provided by the organization would not be disrupted by the strike.

Smith, however, does not believe this has been the case, calling the strike frustrating.

"Service has been severely disrupted all across the board … they're just providing emergency services, if that," she said.

The agency currently employs around 170 staff members.

Smith is hoping OPSEU is able to make some movement this week so that staff can get back to their jobs.

The interim director of the agency could not be reached for comment at press time.

Source: Haliburton Echo

Shaken Justice Syndrome

November 29, 2011 permalink

The US Supreme Court has sent a grandmother back to jail, reinstating her conviction for the shaken baby death of Etzel Glass.

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A Vindictive Decision

The Supreme Court sends a grandmother back to prison to teach the 9th Circuit a lesson.

jail cell
Jail.
Joseph Jean Rolland Dub.

The Supreme Court released a decision last month that will easily be the most vindictive of the term. And hardly anyone noticed.

That’s because the case didn’t go through the full treatment of oral argument and a signed majority opinion. Instead, the court quietly went about sending a grandmother back to prison for a crime she probably did not commit, to bring a lower court to heel. It’s a decision that treats the technicalities of appellate review as paramount, and the task of doing justice as beside the point.

In 1996, when he was seven weeks old, Etzel Glass died during the night. His mother, Tomeka, had put him to sleep on a sofa in a room with Shirley Ree Smith, Etzel’s grandmother. Smith was helping Tomeka raise Etzel and two other children, who were also sleeping in the room with her. There was no indication that she’d been anything but loving toward the kids at any time. When Smith woke up and found Etzel limp, she ran with him to his mother’s room next door, saying she thought he’d fallen off the sofa. At first, the doctors who examined Etzel said he’d died of sudden infant death syndrome—no one’s fault. But the coroner found the cause of death to be shaken-baby syndrome, and prosecutors decided that Shirley Ree Smith had done the shaking.

This was not a typical shaken-baby case. The standard diagnosis for shaken-baby syndrome includes subdural bleeding, retinal bleeding, and brain swelling. In the cases that are easier to classify, there is also injury to the neck from shaking, or there are fractures, bruises, or cuts. In the harder cases, there are no external signs of injury. Etzel’s case involved only “minimal” subdural hemorrhaging. There was no retinal bleeding and no brain swelling, and no fractures or abrasions.

But there was one more supposed piece of evidence against Shirley Ree Smith. According to the social worker who interviewed her, Smith said that when Etzel didn’t respond to her touch when she thought he was sleeping, she gave him “a little shake, a little jostle.” Smith then said something like “Oh my God. Did I do it? Did I do it? Oh my God.” This was enough for the prosecutors and the jury. She was convicted and sentenced to 15 years to life.

I’d like to think that Shirley Ree Smith would not be prosecuted today, though I’m not certain of it. The science underlying shaken-baby prosecutions is shifting, with critics questioning whether alternate explanations for a baby’s death are always adequately explored. But a new consensus—legal or scientific—hasn’t yet emerged yet from the bitter fight, in some cases, over the diagnosis.

Smith’s case is truly an outlier. Since Etzel didn’t have the typical symptoms, the prosecution’s medical witnesses went out on a limb, testifying that the death was caused by a shearing or tearing of the brain stem even though no doctor located any such shearing or tear. On appeal, Smith argued that there wasn’t enough evidence for a jury to find her guilty. But shaken-baby convictions aren’t easy to undo. For the California appeals court, it was enough that the prosecutors had medical experts on their side. The California Supreme Court declined to review the case. So Smith turned to the federal courts. At this point, the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act kicks in. This is perhaps my least-favorite law. AEDPA tells federal courts that they can’t overturn state courts except in a narrow set of circumstances: If a conviction is contrary to or unreasonably applies clearly established federal law, or if it’s based on an unreasonable determination of the facts. AEDPA is a straitjacket. The federal courts are supposed to put it on and quit worrying about whether innocent people have been put in prison.

A panel of judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit refused to do that. They looked at the medical testimony against Shirley Ree Smith and how badly it holds up to the light of current knowledge, and they said that Smith had spent enough years in prison.

Normally, that would be that. AEDPA or no AEDPA, the Supreme Court doesn’t usually reach out and grab sad, fact-bound cases like this one. But liberal 9th Circuit judges are a thorn in the side of the Supreme Court’s conservative justices. Last month, after twice sending the 9th Circuit pointed warnings about this case, the Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s decision. The majority’s brief and unsigned opinion concedes that “doubts about whether Smith is in fact guilty are understandable.” But according to six justices, it’s not the 9th Circuit’s job to do anything about that.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented, with Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Ginsburg gives all the reasons to doubt the medical testimony against Smith. She does a great service by laying out the growing skepticism among a minority of doctors about the validity of diagnosing shaken-baby syndrome without any evidence at all of external injury. “What is now known about the SBS hypotheses seems to me worthy of considerable weight in the discretionary decision whether to take up this tragic case,” Ginsburg writes.

As for the weight to accord Smith’s supposed confession, I defer to an amazing opinion published last week by Judge Richard Posner. In this case, a daycare provider named Rick Aleman was charged for shaking an 11-month-old baby who collapsed in his care. When the police told him that three doctors said that Aleman’s shaking must have caused the injury, he said “I know in my heart that if the only way to cause [the injuries] is to shake that baby, then, when I shook that baby, I hurt that baby.” It turned out that the police were lying. And that the baby’s mother had a record of violence and crime. And that the cop who lied apparently wanted to date her. And that the baby had been sluggish and lethargic for days before he came to Aleman’s house.

The case against Aleman unraveled before trial. It came to Posner and his fellow judges on the 7th Circuit as a suit, brought by Aleman, for false arrest and malicious prosecution. In sustaining those claims, Posner explains how easily an innocent person can implicate himself. The police told Aleman that the only possible explanation for Joshua’s injuries was that the baby had been shaken right before he collapsed. Aleman was the only person to have shaken Joshua just before he stopped breathing. “And so it was a logical necessity that he had been responsible for the child’s death. Q.E.D.,” Posner says. “A confession so induced is worthless as evidence, and as a premise for an arrest.”

That is exactly right. It also perfectly illustrates a serious problem in shaken-baby cases, where the accused often held or handled a baby before the awful moment of collapse, and may be easily led to blame himself.

In Shirley Ree Smith’s case, Justice Ginsburg concludes, “I would not ignore Smith’s plight and choose her case as a fit opportunity to teach the 9th Circuit a lesson.” That’s exactly right, too. There is only one lesson worth learning from this case, and it is about the power of mercy. California Gov. Jerry Brown has the authority to pardon Shirley Ree Smith. She has suffered more than enough for the death of her grandson. Brown should do for her what no judge now can.

Source: Slate

Children's Aid News

November 29, 2011 permalink

The second edition of the Children's Aid News of Ontario is now available.

No Passport for You

November 28, 2011 permalink

The Daily Bastardette advocates for adopted adults. One cause is original birth certificates. Typically adopted adults cannot see theirs. If they have any birth documents at all they are phony, showing the adoptive parents as giving birth, and issued several years after the birth date. In the post 9/11 American Police State, people without original birth certificates are being denied many rights, including the right to a passport. The long enclosed post gives the details of the denial process.

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No Original Birth Certificate? No Passport! The National Security State Begns to Flush our Right to...Everthing

no passport

The birth certificate is the most political and politicized public document issued by a government entity in the United States today. It is the "breeder document" that generates all other government and private documents of identity and entitlement. Since the government has positioned itself as the arbiter and creator of identity, bestowing upon each of us, the legitimacy of our existence, we cannot function in a "normal" way for long without it. What were once routine activities everyone could enjoy, are now mediated by a piece of government paper issued to us its discretion..

For instance, without a government-approved birth certificate or documents engendered by it, a child can't enter school, attend camp, or even play Little League; adults can't marry, acquire security clearances, collect private and government pensions, access government programs, open a bank account, acquire employment, rent an apartment or buy a home, fly to Seattle or Fort Worth, enter certain public and private buildings, or legally drive a car. And certainly one cannot travel internationally, even to the once easily accessibly Canada and Mexico, without a passport or pass, which cannot be acquired without ...a birth certificate.

Starting April 1, 2011, the US Department of State changed passport application regulations, making it more difficult to get one. (Please go to the link above for more details; those renewing a passport have it a little easier, but here are the general rules):

Passport applicants are required to present a certified birth certificate, the primary evidence of US citizenship.

The birth certificate must contain the full name of the applicant, the full name of the applicant's parent(s), date of birth, place of birth, raised seal, Registrar's signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the state Registrar's office. Except for the raised seal, these regulations endanger the ability of some adoptees to access a passport--and as the escalating National Security State war against the American people continues, keep passports (and other government "services") out of the hands of Class Bastard all together.

denied a passport

The unkept bastard --that is, the adoptee-- is in the unique situation of being issued, (with some exceptions), by state law, an allegedly legal, but fictive birth certificate containing government-created false information including new names for child and parents, and depending on state practice and/or date of adoption, false birth date and place of birth for both parent and child. While these fictions are important and bode serious consequences to bastards, of most concern to bastards right now, imo, is the codification of what has for some time, been documented practice, the rejection of passport applications due to late filing with the Registrar. The late filing, of course, is due to the adoption itself, which the state hides,

Many amended birth certificates (ABCs) are "delayed filings" since, at least in the old days, an adoption could take more than a year to finalize; thus, a legal and permanent ABC could not be issued until an infant was a year or more older. (How this effects those adopted when older or out of fostercare, I have no idea). Moreover, some ABCs do not contain a Registrar's signature, only the name typed in. (I have two copies of my Ohio OBC , one from the state and the other from the county. The county cert is completely hand-written, and signed by the Registrar, and filed correctly; the State cert has a slightly different filing date and a typed "signature," My ABC contains the date of the OBC filing found on the hand-written cert, but the registrar's "signature" is typed.)

A birth certificate filed more than a year after the birth of a child is red flag for bulls in their passport office cubicles and your invitation to cancel your vacation to Brazil.

filing cabinet

BUT NEVER FEAR!

DOS has come up with some relief for those unfortunate enough to have a late filing date or other irregularity on their government generated and issued certificate of existence: secondary evidence of US citizenship, generated by documents "generally not more than 5 years after birth." While these documents could be difficult for anyone to access, they are particularly difficult, if not impossible for Class Bastard to acquire, since the acquisition of most of these secondary papers would be a violation of state adoption laws and medical confidentiality laws, such as the federal HIPAA.

Please hold your laughter to the end of this No-You-Can't-Have-That-Because-You're Adopted list.

Early Public Records:

  • Baptismal certificate
  • Hospital birth certificate
  • Census record (The 1930 Census is the last publicly available census).
  • Early school record
  • Family Bible record
  • Doctor's record of post-natal care.

Delayed birth certificates

You can submit a Delayed US Birth Certificate filed more than one year after birth, which MAY be acceptable IF:

It lists the documentation used to create it (preferably from public records)

and

It is signed by the birth attendant or lists an affidavit signed by the parents.

If all this fails, try the:

Birth Affidavit

You can present IN PERSON, a birth affidavit (Form DS-10,) It must be:

  • notarized and submitted with early public records;
  • completed by an affiant who has personal knowledge of birth in the US
  • Must state briefly how the affiant's knowledge was acquired
  • Should be completed by an older blood relative.

Oh wait, we're not done yet. If no older blood relative is available, it may be completed by the ATTENDING PHYSICIAN or any other person who has personal knowledge of your birth.

And, in case you're wondering, these documents are not sufficient proof of secondary evidence:

  • voter registration card
  • Army discharge papers
  • Social Security card

Apparently nowadays, the government wants to hire you to kill people in far away countries only if you can prove US citizenship with appropriate documents. . Christina Crawford told me that her brother Christopher, a Viet Nam War vet, was denied a passport years later due to his hinky adoptive status.

top secret

IT YOU THINK THIS IS BAD, IT'S ABOUT TO GET WORSE.

The Department of State has proposed a new bizarre Biographical Questionnaire (Proposed Form DS 5513) for "some passport applicants." No criteria has been set yet for who those "some" are, but we can guess who State might include. According to Consumer Traveler, State is already using a version of this form without required OMB approval.

The new form will require "some" applicants to submit:

  • the full name, place of birth, date of birth, and citizenship status of your parents, step parents, siblings, and step siblings.
  • your mother's residence one year before your birth; her residence at the time of your birth; and her residence a year after your birth.
  • your mother's place of employment at the time of your birth; her dates of employment, name and address of employer. (Apparently, no one cares what your old man was up to.)
  • mother's pre-natal or post-natal medial care; name of doctor and dates of appointments.
  • the circumstances of your birth (whatever that means), including the names, addresses and phone numbers, if available of those present or in attendance at your birth.
  • religious or institutional records regarding your birth or events surrounding it (ex: baptism or circumcision)
  • a list of all of your places of residence, and dates of residence from birth to present
  • a list of all employers, address, dates employed, name of supervisor, and phone number
  • all schools attended, addresses and dates of school attendance

rejection

Failure to reply "correctly" with any of these absurd questions, even with an "I don't know" can mean a rejected application (what's a little more rejection for adoptees?). What the dates of your mother's doctor's appointments or proof of your circumcision (hehheh) or who you mowed grass for 30 years ago has to do with your passport passport isn't addresses. What the state wants you to do is data mine yourself for its files.

Laughably, in its submitted Statement of Support, the people at State who dreamed this up, claim that it will only take 45 minutes for applicants to gather up this information. The Identity Project, which opposes the regs, points out realistically, that the applicant would be forced to spend 100 hours or more on the ap, and even then could not document all the information required. The complete Identity Project Comment (linked above), which also was submitted under the joint signatures of The Consumer Travel Alliance, the Center for Privacy and Human Rights, and several other organizations and individuals, is a detailed analysis and demolition of Proposed Forum DS 5513, and I urge you to read it and bookmark it.

I follow passport and ID news, but I'm not sure how I missed this absurd proposal until it was too late for Bastard Nation to submit comments, The Identity Project, in its comments, though, did include adoptees as a group that would be seriously harmed if these regs are implemented. Unfortunately, the comments did not address OBC and adoption decree access, but did put State on warming:

Certain groups would be even less likely than the norm to have any chance of completing the proposed form. Adoptees who aren't in touch with their birth parents would have no chance of being able to provide the required information about their mother's residence, pre-natal medical appointments, or the circumstances of their birth.


body scan

Of course, the State Department is performing more Security Theatre of the Absurd. Proposed Form DS 5513 (not to mention already-in-place adoptee-impossible identify regs), is the paper version of the naked body scanner and genital squeeze. One strips you of your clothing and dignity, the other of your right to travel internationally. .Both are meant to create the compliant citizen who is only too happy to sacrifice rights for the vague promise of security from something.. Today it's your passport...tomorrow. it's your...

Walter Ashby Plecker

Birth certificates as we know them today, are a product of the Progressive Era eugenics movement in the United States. Since their federal mandate a little over a hundred years ago, birth certificates, in the hands of the state have been used to eugenically erase/create/re-create racial, national, social, and family identity. They have been a tool to segregate races, control who marries whom, determine mental inadequacy, and hide children and parents from each other. See, Edwin Black's award wining epic account of eugenics: War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's campaign to create a master race. While Black doesn't address adoption in his book, he includes several pages on Virgina's first Registrar of Vital Records, Walter Ashby Plecker and his manipulation of birth certificate data to erase and re-classify the racial identity of thousands of Virginians against their will and sometimes without their knowledge. Plekcer was probably involved in all sorts of adoption shenanigans that we don't know about; but we do know that he once attempted to remove a set of twins from a Presbyterian orphanage because they were illegitimate and, therefore, the “chances are 10-1 they are of negro blood.” (A 2-part article from the Virginian-Pilot here and here, is a good place to start with Plecker.) The important connection between eugenics, adoption. and sealed records has been all but neglected. I wish I had time to delve into it.

About 15 years ago, a member of the Washington State ACLU Privacy Project told Bastard Nation that no one over the age of 18 needed a birth certificate. If a bill were introduced to seal the birth certificates of everybody, it would probably. support the measure.The email was sent several years before the events of 9/11 authorized the US government to wage its war on the American people and was clearly a snarky response to BN's criticism of its opposition to OBC access. The message was clear, though: the state can do what it wants with your identity and your documents.

Casablanca

Since then, we have seen the government's secret non-consensual acquisitionof the public's DNA, the creation of corporate DNA patents (and brand new story here) without the permission of the DNA owners (you and me), and a tightening of the public's access to local, state, and federal documents and meetings, all under the vil of "security" and "privacy.." Everyone's identities and information, are under the control of the corporate state, which professes to be instituting these illegal and unconstitutional acts for our own good. Hidden histories, impounded and sealed records, bodily disenfranchisement once limited to lab ratted bastards, will soon be the norm for everyone. Rigid, nonsensical; (to us, but very sensical to the state) passport rules are part of the deal. They're testing the waters this time, will back off a little bit, and let the frogs boil..

I regret I haven't kept better records on the nightmare stories I've heard, particularity from adoptees, regarding their records and corpo mediation and control of them. A campus Young Republican couldn't get his driver's license due to "irregularities in his ABC. An EMT, with neither an OBC or an ABC, denied certification because his adoption involved three states; each state, "destroying" his paperwork because they thought the other state had it. An Army lifer and later civilian contractor, with security clearances from both jobs, denied Social Security because his birth certificate didn't trail back like it should. The continuing number of adoptees denied passports. Years ago, Bastard Nation-co-founder Shea Grimm, who had traveled internationally under an aparent passport as a child, was denied a big people's passport when she became an adult (though she finally did get it). Lately, stories of adoptees denied are growing. To make it more interesting, I heard casually, and don't have verification, that some states, get around this problem, by backdating the ABCs to make it coincide with new passport regulations. That is, ANOTHER fake document is created on top of the old fake document., The lies never end.

Last I heard, the original Real ID law--the national ID card law-- was in big trouble because states just couldn't or wouldn't implement it. In its stead other less expensive laws or less draconian parts of Real ID were being implemented or cajoled.. Whatever is going on isn't good for the American people and especially Class Bastard.

A couple years ago Bastard Nation began to implement what I call "Real ID language" into our legislative testimony, pointing out possible consequences of continued sealed records on adoptees: that go beyond the traditional rights infringement.

Tacking this year's birther idiocy for instance, we included this in our submitted testimony against Indiana SB 114:

Adopted adults, especially since 9/11, are increasingly denied passports, drivers licenses, pensions, Social Security benefits, professional certifications, and security clearances due discrepancies on their amended birth certificates, and their inability to produce an original birth certificate to answer the problems. Indiana is one of 11 states currently considering a law to require presidential and vice-presidential candidates to present proof of citizenship through birth certificates. Indiana's proposal, SB 114, sponsored by Sen. Mike Delph and currently in the Elections Committee, requires that "a certified copy of each nominee's birth certificate, including any other documentation necessary to establish that the nominees qualifications" to appear on the ballot.

Next year we'll beef it up.

No one lobbying for the restoration of adoptee rights to OBC access can afford to dismiss draconian federal mandates and penalties due to "irregular" birth certificates.. While we correctly argue the restoration of the right to access our original birth certificates as a stand-alone right--and should continue to do so-- we must also argue that the lack of the obc creates all kinds of scenarios for government abuse and the loss of more of our rights and privileges. Lose one right and lose them all.

The birth certificate is the breeder document of all other documents of identification. Without a "correct" birth certificate, all other rights and privileges are in limbo. Bad BC? Sorry, no driver's license, no Social Security, no bank account. We're down to the wire on this. It's no longer a matter of one right--but every right. For us the OBC is the breeder document

Source: Daily Bastardette
Postings formerly signed Marley Greiner, now signed BD.

The proposed passport questionnaire is so bizarre we have preserved a local copy (pdf) in case the web posting changes. In addition to making passports unavailable to adoptees, people with deceased mothers will never be able to answer the maternal questions.

British Child Snatchers Exposed

November 28, 2011 permalink

Belgian investigative journalist Florence Bellone exposes Britain's practice of child theft under color of law. Her report includes a recording made during the arrest of a family and interviews with Christopher Booker and John Hemming. It could not have been broadcast in Britain, but their gag laws don't reach Belgium. Retour sur les "enfants volés" de Grande-Bretagne (mp3, in French).

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Retour sur les "enfants volés" de Grande-Bretagne

L'enquête de Florence Bellone sur les enlèvements d'enfants par les services sociaux britanniques avait fait sensation l'an dernier. Ce reportage vient de lui valoir le prestigieux prix européen Lorenzo Natali pour les droits de l'homme. Notre correspondante à Londres revient avec de nouvelles pièces, de nouveaux témoignages, toujours aussi forts et parfois même hallucinants...

Le fait qu'un pays européen tel que le Royaume-Uni enlève sciemment les enfants de ses propres familles et les fasse adopter sans le consentement des parents de naissance demeure un phénomène peu connu, car les familles touchées n'ont pas le droit d'évoquer leur cas en dehors de la cour de justice familiale, encore moins d'en parler à un journaliste, sous peine d'emprisonnement. Le "gagging order" (ordre de bâillonnement) protège l'état aux dépens de la liberté de la presse, et de la liberté d'expression. Les parents en sont venus à utiliser les médias alternatifs pour décrire leur calvaire et surtout, retrouver leurs enfants...Depuis deux ans, ils sont aussi nombreux à se confier à Florence Bellone, puisque cette loi du silence ne concerne pas les diffusions à l'extérieur des frontières britanniques...

En fin d'émission, nous irons, sur les routes congolaises, à la rencontre des électeurs et à l'écoute de leurs aspirations, à la veille d'un scrutin présidentiel et législatif. Un reportage de Simone Reumont et Patrice Hardy.

Source: RTBF radios

Huronia

November 27, 2011 permalink

Orillia Idiot Asylum

The CBC exposes treatment of mentally retarded children and adults at Ontario institutions such as Huronia near Orillia continuing until 2009. audio link (mp3).

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The Gristle in the Stew - Charley Boorman - Ariel Dorfman

It was one of 16 such institutions which over the generations were home to 50,000 people.

The last of them was closed in 2009.

Parents were told their children would be cared for, that it was all in all the best thing for them.

It is now coming to light that this was not the case.

For the first time, adults who grew up in these places are telling harrowing stories of abuse and neglect.

We begin our program this morning with a special documentary by David Gutnick about Huronia, and the people who lived and suffered there.

It is called The Gristle in the Stew..

Source: CBC

Addendum: A settlement of $35 million has been reached. It sounds big, but divided by the number of victims is quite small.

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Huronia institution cemetery a painful reminder of neglect and abuse

As part of the $35 million settlement with former residents of Huronia Regional Centre, Ontario will offer a formal apology and a promise to maintain the cemetery and create a registry of all those buried there.

Most of the 2,000 children and adults buried in the unkempt field across from Huronia Regional Centre were laid to rest in unmarked graves.

Others are identified by numbers scrawled on small slabs of concrete hidden amid overgrown grass.

For former residents of the government-run institution for the developmentally delayed in Orillia, the cemetery has served as a painful reminder of the neglect and abuse they have long insisted occurred there.

But that may soon change. On Tuesday, the Ontario government settled a historic class-action lawsuit with former residents of Huronia. The terms include $35 million, a formal apology — and a promise to maintain the cemetery and create a registry of all those buried there.

“I’m happy with the settlement, but I just think about all the pain and death and loss,” said Marilyn Dolmage, a litigation guardian for Marie Slark, one of two lead plaintiffs in the case. “The class action is about the survivors, but the survivors are honouring those that didn’t survive.”

The settlement, which is still subject to court approval, was announced in a Toronto courtroom after the start of the long-awaited hearing was adjourned on Monday for 24 hours, prompting concern among some former residents that their stories would not be heard.

About 3,700 surviving residents are eligible to file a claim for part of the $35-million settlement, which is a fraction of the $1 billion in general damages the plaintiffs were seeking for the alleged abuses they said the Crown knew were occurring, but failed to take action to prevent. (They sought an additional $1 billion in punitive damages.)

Yet following the announcement, there were tears of joy outside the old Canada Life building, as former residents expressed relief at receiving some semblance of closure. Many spoke of their friends that died at Huronia.

“I didn’t come here just for the money. I came here for justice. I came here for the kids that couldn’t speak,” said Edgar Riel, who was dropped off at Huronia in the ’60s, at age 9.

During his time at Huronia, which closed in 2009, Riel said he was forced to haul gravel without being paid and suffered emotional and physical abuse — just a few of the litany of allegations outlined in the written opening arguments the plaintiffs submitted earlier this month.

The Ontario government denied in its statement of defence that abuse, mistreatment or assault occurred at the facility.

Robert Ratcliffe, Crown lawyer for the Attorney General of Ontario, told the court on Tuesday that the parties “worked very long and hard to resolve this matter.”

“In our view, it’s a fair and reasonable solution,” he said.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said she was pleased with the outcome.

“Obviously it is a history that people needed to grapple with, and there needed to be some closure,” she said.

The case, however, will likely remain in the spotlight. Under the terms of the settlement, 65,000 documents — including internal government documents, police reports, eyewitness accounts and letters from concerned parents — will also be made public.

“You don’t have to accept what I say. The truth is in the documents,” Kirk Baert, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, told reporters.

The government’s pledge to maintain the cemetery is a significant victory for lead plaintiffs Patricia Seth and Marie Slark. Since the women launched the class action in 2010, every trip they have made to Orillia has included a stop at the graveyard.

“They didn’t do a very good job of keeping the graves up,” Slark said. “It’s like they wanted to forget that those people existed.”

Dolmage said she has watched Slark brush grass off the graves, “like (she) was nurturing and caring, giving some love to that person, and not wanting to leave that person alone again.”

According to the Ministry of Community and Social Services website, there are 571 marked graves and around 1,440 unmarked graves at the cemetery at Huronia, which was founded in 1876 as the Orillia Asylum for Idiots.

Prior to 1958, numbers were all that marked gravestones, “to protect the privacy of the resident and their family.” The last institutional burial was in 1971.

In 1990, the government erected a monument at the cemetery, but Dolmage said it is not visible from the road, and the chain that surrounds some of the plots does not encircle the unmarked graves. (Dolmage’s brother Robert, who died at Huronia in 1961, is buried in a family plot in Hamilton.)

Jody Brown, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said historical records will help the government compile a registry, “so people know who was interred there.”

Brown said the agreement stipulates that there should be a fence or “some kind of demarcation” that makes clear it is a final resting place “and not just a patch of grass that hasn’t been mowed for a while.”

The settlement agreement must be heard before a judge by Dec. 16. If approved, it will become effective 30 days later, at which point former residents will be able to submit claims. They are eligible to receive up to $42,000 each, depending on the severity of alleged abuses outlined in the claim.

Terms of the Huronia settlement

  • A $35-million settlement fund, which includes legal fees.
  • A formal apology from the Ontario government to all former residents of Huronia.
  • A commemorative plaque to be installed on the grounds of Huronia.
  • The Ontario government will ensure proper maintenance of the cemetery and create a registry of those buried there.
  • Some 65,000 documents pertaining to the case will be made public.
  • The claims process is open to all 3,700 surviving residents of Huronia who lived there between 1945 and 2009.
  • Former residents are eligible to receive a maximum of $42,000, depending on the severity of alleged abuses outlined in the claim.
  • The settlement is still subject to court approval.

Source: Toronto Star

Fosters Fingerprinted

November 26, 2011 permalink

Feel-good regulations, such as background checks for child workers, make a good response to scandals, but sometimes are pointless when applied in actual cases. There's not much chance of finding a predator in long-term Manitoba foster parent Doug Goodman.

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Fingerprinting requirement too onerous for foster parent

Doug Goodman
Longtime foster parent Doug Goodman is upset he has to get fingerprinted.
(KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

He's been a foster parent for nearly 20 years, helping care for kids who need a home.

But even though Doug Goodman likes to give, he's angry about having to pay to be fingerprinted as part of a background check known as a vulnerable-sector check. The police check is for people such as teachers or coaches who work with kids, elderly people or vulnerable adults.

Goodman said he's against the process that requires him to pay $100 on various elements of the check. He may also have to wait for up to two months for clearance.

"There's got to be a different way of doing this," said Goodman, 66.

People who request the background check used to provide their names to police agencies but the policy was changed last year. It was discovered that pardoned sex offenders in most provinces could legally change their name and potentially get missed.

Changes to the vulnerable-sector check implemented now mean certain people, who have the same birthday and gender as a pardoned sex offender, must submit their fingerprints.

For Winnipeggers, the check is started by the Winnipeg Police Service and information from those who must submit fingerprints is sent to the RCMP.

Goodman said he has no criminal record and he's afraid he'll have to explain to officials such as border guards why he's been fingerprinted.

In September, Karen Fonseth, chief executive officer of Direct Action in Support of Community Homes (DASCH), a Winnipeg non-profit, said the new process places vulnerable Canadians at risk due to long waits getting checks done for new employees.

But Staff Sgt. Rick Lange of the WPS said wait times have improved.

As of last summer, Lange said people can do electronic fingerprint submission instead of mailing hard copies of prints to Ottawa.

"It used to take six months to get the information back. Now we are able to complete the entire transaction in three to four weeks," he said.

"It's not us who determine you need to go through this, it's whatever agency you're volunteering or working for that determines that," he said.

Goodman said he knows of six other foster families who said they'll stop before they go through the process.

Sgt. Julie Gagnon, an Ottawa-based RCMP spokeswoman, said the process is done for the "safety of the children."

The RCMP post the wait time for a vulnerable sector check on its website.

As of Wednesday, the RCMP listed a processing time of 10 weeks for a paper fingerprint submission and two to three business days for an electronic submission, if there's no match.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

McGuinty Lies about Ombudsman

November 26, 2011 permalink

The second day of the rally outside the Ontario Liberal Provincial Council in Niagara Falls got to the CHCH evening news (mp4) today. The lowlight is the statement by premier Dalton McGuinty that the ombudsman already has oversight over CAS.

Here is the full interview of Bobbie Gellner (mp4), including parts not shown by CHCH. It is a good example of how to get your point across when speaking to the media. More pictures from the second day: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8 Chris Carter with Minister of Energy Chris Bentley]

The video report includes audio of encounters with former Attorney General Chris Bentley and former Minister for Children and Youth Services Laurel Broten. YouTube and local copy (mp4).

CAS Criticized

November 26, 2011 permalink

An editorial in the Sault Star criticizes children's aid.

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Children's Aid Society not quick enough to put families back together - MILLROY COLUMN

Over the years Children's Aid Societies across this country have faced criticism when things have gone very wrong in cases where they have returned children to parents who turned out to be unfit.

In some, the consequences have been so severe that they have led to the loss of life of a child.

But from the periphery I got to follow a local investigation last weekend and I found the CAS initially moved quickly and efficiently.

However, as the investigation progressed through the weekend, I began to think that after ripping a family apart, the CAS wasn't all that quick to put the pieces back together when it had more than enough information in hand to know it was dealing with a false alarm.

A three-year-old child had complained of a sore ear when getting her hair brushed near the end of a day at daycare and the worker, noticing slight bruises on the tips of both ears, asked the child what had happened.

She first said daddy had pulled her ears and later that she had fallen.

Daycare, as it is mandated to do, informed CAS and a CAS worker and an OPP officer arrived on the scene.

All this, of course, was devastating to the young parents who, blind-sided by the event, couldn't even lean on each other for support as CAS ordered that the father could not return to the home.

Instead, he was ordered to take the child to Sault Area Hospital where he remained with her for several hours. Then CAS asked that he leave the hospital and a grandmother took over, spending the night.

The mother, now home with a two-year-old child, was interviewed after midnight by the CAS worker accompanied by two OPP officers. The two-yearold was awakened and checked over, obviously for marks that might indicate abuse. The home also was checked out to see if there was food for the children and that other amenities were in place.

Apparently all was to the satisfaction of the CAS worker.

The following day the child the CAS had taken into its care was examined, first by a medical student and then by a doctor.

They pronounced that everything was fine and the child was released, her story about her ears being hurt now having changed to her being knocked down by the larger of the family dogs.

But the OK from the doctor, as welcome as the news was to the young couple, was not enough to allow the father to return home as it was only one part of the investigation.

He and his wife still faced separate interrogations by OPP. As well, other members of his family were interviewed, as were a babysitter and a public health nurse who regularly visits as part of a program in which the young couple had requested involvement.

From my vantage point as a casual observer, as the investigation went on it all began to seem like an extreme waste of manpower and left me with the thought of overkill.

However, I certainly can't criticize the CAS for moving quickly to investigate. When suspected abuse is reported, it must act.

After all, the safety of a child is paramount.

But it would be nice if a child could be checked more quickly so, if nothing untoward is found, he or she can be returned to the family setting rather than having to spend a night away from home in hospital.

It would also alleviate the distress on the parents, who in the case at hand were beyond devastated.

It would, or should, also get the father back into the family unit more quickly, which in this case didn't happen for four days.

Although this event may have turned out to the satisfaction of the investigators, its slowness in bringing about a resolution will leave a residue of fear and anxiety within the young couple that will take years to erase.

They undoubtedly will be afraid to allow any of their children out of the house if they have any bruises on them at all, at least until they are at an age when they will be able to accurately describe how they came about.

As the doctor who examined the child in hospital said, a three-year-old is hardly credible.

With no resolution in sight, I decided to put the question as to why the investigation seemed to be taking so long to Jim Baraniuk, executive director of CAS, Tuesday morning.

I suggested to him that there didn't seem to be any urgency to bring the family unit back together and told him I would be saying that in a column.

"That's not accurate," he said, "certainly from our end," explaining several times during our conversation that he couldn't discuss a particular case.

I told him I understood that he couldn't discuss a particular case, but I could only go with what I saw in this one.

"We try to resolve things as quickly as possible, but we also have to do due diligence to ensure we get all the information and make a determination that ultimately the child is going to be safe," he said.

"Sometimes it might take time to do that. We might have to wait for information or validation from physicians or other professionals before we can return the child home. That's part of our evidence gathering.

"It's not that we don't want to react and reintegrate families. We just have to ensure everything is in place to make a determination the child will be safe."

I have no problem with that, as far as it goes.

It is just that in this case the child was checked over to hospital staff's satisfaction on Saturday morning, but interviews of all other parties by OPP, who were looking into the possibility of a criminal complaint, were not completed until Sunday evening, the last being the father's parents.

If OPP had moved with more urgency, one would think things could have been wrapped up Sunday, but even as it stood, surely it would have taken only a few phone calls by the CAS worker to pull this information together so the family unit could have been put back together Monday morning, rather than Tuesday afternoon.

Because lost in all this seems to be the distress caused to the parents, a father who is banned from the home close to becoming a basket case and a mother who is left on her own to care for two active children while studying for a test in one of her courses at Sault College.

I realize the safety of a child is paramount. I am only suggesting, considering we are dealing with a culture in which parents seem to be judged guilty until they are proven innocent, that there should be some avenue of support for those who find themselves in such situations.

Source: Sault Star

Wanted for Fatherhood

November 26, 2011 permalink

Police are looking for father Ricky Doodhnaught and one of his children. The mother was arrested while CAS was snatching one child, but Ricky fled with the other.

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Police seek Woodbridge man and child after violation of child services order

Ricky Doodhnaught
Ricky Doodhnaught is believed to be driving a silver 2002 Dodge Caravan with Ontario licence plate BMJZ 199.
Dylan C. Robertson Staff Reporter

Police are seeking a Woodbridge man and his child in connection with the contravention of a Children’s Aid Society court order.

Police and child services officers attended a Vaughan home to apprehend two children under a court order. The mother was arrested and one child was taken into custody, but the father fled, police said. Police are now trying to locate the missing father and child.

Police have identified a suspect. Ricky Doodhnaught, 31, of Woodbridge is described as brown-skinned, 5-foot-10, 240 pounds with short black hair and brown eyes. He is believed to be driving a silver 2002 Dodge Caravan with Ontario licence plate BMJZ 199.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-866-876-5423 ext. 7241 or Crime Stoppers’ anonymous tip line at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

Source: Toronto Star

The investigation has morphed into a homicide case.

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Child missing, Woodbridge man being investigated

York Regional Police are investigating a Woodbridge man after he violated a court order issued by the Children’s Aid Society.

Investigators and case workers were at the suspect’s house in Vaughan last Thursday to remove two children in the suspect’s custody under court order.

The mother of the children was arrested at the scene and one child was taken from their custody.

The father has since fled from police and investigators, taking his two-month-old son with him.

Homicide has stepped in for the week-long investigation.

Authorities are concerned for the infant’s health because he was born premature.

In a news conference to the media, police stated the nine-week-old infant had not been seen for over a month. It was first reported that the baby, George, was in the care of the suspect’s relative.

Police investigation confirmed the facts were not true and some family members were not aware the couple even had a child, according to police.

Police say the suspect and his child failed to show up for a doctor’s appointment as recently as Wednesday, which causes the department great concern.

While the Homicide Unit does not suspect there is a homicide to investigate, the unit also investigates missing persons and has strong suspicions of foul play.

The suspect and his infant were last seen at a doctor’s appointment in the Woodbridge area on October 31, according to police.

Ricky Doodhnaught, 31, of Woodbridge, is wanted for two incidents involving theft of gas.

He is described as male, brown, 5’10”, 240 lbs. He has short black hair and brown eyes.

Police believe Doodhnaught is driving a silver Dodge Caravan, 2002 with one of two Ontario license plate numbers: BMJZ 199 OR BFJT 783.

Police are appealing to the public for help. Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 1-866-287-5025 or 905-773-1221 ext. 7865, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS.

Source: Toronto Star

Father Ricky Doodhnaught has been arrested, but is staying mum on the location of his son, George Doodhnaught.

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Police hunt for baby after arresting dad

George Doodhnaught
Baby George
(QMI AGENCY PHOTO)

A GTA-wide search for the father of a missing baby ended Tuesday afternoon with the arrest of Ricky Doodhnaught.

But his nine-week-old son has still not been located by authorities, said York Regional Police homicide Det.-Sgt. Larry Wilson.

Doodhnaught, 31, “has not co-operated with us in any way, and has not provided us with any information on the whereabouts of his son, George, or the safety of the baby,” Wilson told the Toronto Sun.

He said the prematurely-born baby has no known serious health concerns, but he remains “vulnerable” due to his small stature and obvious helplessness.

The lack of information or help in finding him “is very frustrating and very concerning,” Wilson said.

“We’re basically looking for a needle in a haystack,” he said.

Toronto Police officers last weekend found the van driven by Doodhnaught, who was wanted for contravening a custody order and was the subject of two outstanding arrest warrants for unrelated criminal offences.

York officers plus CAS caseworkers visited a City of Vaughan home on Nov. 24 armed with a court order to seize two children.

The mother was arrested and an 11-month-old child was removed “to a place of safety,” but Doodhnaught escaped, police stated.

Wilson said the father was not with their much-sought baby at the time of her arrest.

“It is our information that the mother has not seen George since early November,” he said.

She was charged on outstanding, unrelated arrest warrants and has since been released from custody, Wilson said.

Her name has not been released.

Baby George was reported missing last week.

Relatives denied caring for him and some told police they were unaware the couple had a second child, Wilson said.

He said officers were “going to all family members ... hitting it pretty hard, and to anyone with an association with Ricky or his wife.”

It was information pieced together from relatives that led to Doodhnaught’s arrest at a family member’s apartment on Driftwood Ave., Wilson said.

The investigation was taken over last week by the York Regional Police Homicide Unit, which also investigates cases of missing people if foul play is suspected.

Source: London Free Press

Addendum: Two years later a reporter works out the whole story. The boy, George, stopped breathing and the parents feared to call for help in part because they thought CAS would take their other child.

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Secrets still shroud dumpster baby's death

Ricky Ray Doodhnaught and George Doodhnaught
Ricky Ray Doodhnaught (left) and his son, George.
Photo : YRP photo

The lies started Sept. 23, 2011 and no one is really sure if they ever stopped.

It was on this day Nadia Ayyad hid her pregnancy from a Children's Aid Society worker, who was there to monitor the care of her first son, Ricky Ray Doodhnaught Jr., by saying it was her clothes that made her look big.

Four days later, the 24-year-old Woodbridge resident, formerly a heavy drug user, had her second baby boy about six weeks premature.

His remains now lie beneath piles of waste in landfill site and his parents have been convicted of committing an indignity to his body. Ms Ayyad was sentenced yesterday to 27 months in jail for this and other crimes. She'll serve just four more months, as her time spent in jail since her arrest was taken into account.

According to an agreed statement of facts from the case against her former partner and the boy's father, Ricky Ray Doodhnaught, she chose her dad's name, George, for the boy.

Soon after his birth, nurses at the Etobicoke hospital, unaware CAS was already involved with Ms Ayyad, detected inconsistency with the way she fed the newborn and contacted the agency.

Days later, it was agreed instead of her, Mr. Doodhnaught would become the primary caregiver for both children.

The last time agency workers would see the tiny infant was when the couple were subject to a home visit at their basement apartment on Torii Street, near Pine Valley Drive and Hwy. 7, in Vaughan.

When Mr. Doodhnaught took the baby to see a Vaughan paediatrician five days later, the doctor came back with excellent news – little George was healthy.

The doctor later told police the same thing he told Mr. Doodhnaught that day, the thrush infection with which George was diagnosed was gone and his heart murmur had disappeared.

It was at this point all contact with the authorities ceased.

The following day, Ms Ayyad missed an appointment with CAS and, later in the day, the agency was told there had been a death in the family and the couple had to attend a funeral in London, Ont.

According to court documents, Mr. Doodnaught would later say this was an excuse to buy the couple time.

What happened in the lead-up to that lie is only known to Mr. Doodhnaught and Ms. Ayyad.

But it was clear their actions became erratic.

After several no-shows to scheduled CAS appointments, the agency eventually visited the couple's home.

Upon arrival, they discovered the couple had vacated the premises without notice a week before.

On Nov. 21, 2011, citing "disorganization, manipulation, mental health concerns with respect to Ayyad and dishonesty", CAS requested and received a warrant to apprehend Ricky Ray Jr. and George Doodhnaught.

The following day, CAS contacted Ms Ayyad, who said everything was fine before she hung up the phone.

It was at this point York Regional Police's homicide and missing person unit joined the investigation.

Police immediately made a number of startling discoveries.

Ms Ayyad's father, George Ayyad, told police his daughter told her mother CAS had taken her child at birth and that little George had died.

Soon after this conversation, poilice spoke with a bartender at a Toronto Comfort Inn.

According to court documents, the woman told police Ms Ayyad spent a lot of time in the establishment, often with her then-10-month old son, Ricky Ray Jr.

Although she had never seen Ms Ayyad's younger son, the bartender said she had seen pictures of the infant on Ms Ayyad's cellphone.

She allegedly told the woman the baby was with her mother, as it was "too much for her to cope with".

Police would eventually trace the phone Ms Ayyad had been using to call her mother to the Comfort Inn, where employees said she had lived for an extended period.

The hunt for the pair heated up later that same day after Mr. Doodhnaught, while driving a silver Dodge Caravan, was observed by police speeding through an intersection.

He would later lead Toronto police on a dangerous chase through the city, hitting a cruiser at one point.

During the chase, Mr. Doodhnaught dropped Ms Ayyad and Ricky Ray Jr. out of the car before making his escape.

It was at this point Ms Ayyad was taken into custody for an outstanding warrant and Ricky Ray Jr. was held by CAS, where he remains.

In a subsequent interview, she claimed George was not in the car.

Days later, police closed in on Mr. Doodhnaught after locating his car, which was filled with "unspecified property", according to court documents.

He was soon found hiding behind a mattress at his aunt's home.

During a Dec. 6, 2011 interview, Mr. Doodnaught refused to say if George was alive or provide details on his condition.

It was three days later police eventually got Mr. Doodnaught's version of events.

During the interview, he told police George had died a "day or two" after Halloween, saying the pair had put the baby in their bed because he was crying, but when he awoke, George was not moving and Mr. Doodnaught's attempts to perform CPR were unsuccessful.

He claimed Ms Ayyad told him to stop his attempts, yelling: "Stop, he is already gone", according to court documents.

Although he admitted to police he should have called 911, he said he didn't because there was a warrant out for his arrest in relation to a gas theft and he was afraid his other son might be taken away by CAS.

It was at this point, he said, he put his family in his vehicle and drove to a nearby Mac's store.

He said he put little George, who was wrapped in a blue sleeper, in a plastic garbage bag, threw him in a dumpster and drove off.

Mr. Doodhnaught said he sold George's crib a week or two later.

Ms Ayyad testified that on the day in question, Mr. Doodhnaught punched her in the face and kicked her down the stairs before he left with George, saying he was taking him to his aunt's home.

When asked why she had told her mother the baby was dead, she said Mr. Doodhnaught had made her say it.

She denied his story about the family going together to dispose of the body.

George Doodhnaught's remains could be at a landfill site in Niagara Falls or another in Blenheim, according to court documents, where at least 70,000 tons of waste have been dumped since his death.

Mr. Doodhnaught was sentenced to 10 months of pre-sentence custody plus 20 months in a provincial jail and two years probation on a charge of committing an indignity to a human body. For his failure to stop for police, he received three more months in prison and a one-year driving suspension.

Ms Ayyad was also convicted of failing to provide necessities of life and obstruct police.

Source: Metroland York Region

Liberal Rally

November 26, 2011 permalink

The first day of a two-day rally outside the Ontario Liberal Provincial Council in Niagara Falls took place yesterday. We have the rally handout and several pictures of the rally group. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9].

A press report:

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Liberals and Protestors in Niagara Falls

Liberals from all over Ontario are in Niagara Falls.

The party is holding their annual provincial council meeting at the Scotiabank Convention Centre.

It is the first big Liberal get-together since the October election.

For the second day in a row, protestors are standing outside the Liberal Party Convention.

They say they are demanding that the Liberals begin supporting accountability & transparency and expanding the Ombudsman mandate over the "MUSH" sector.

The protest will continue again all day Saturday.

Some groups included in the protest are Stop the Children's Aid Society from taking Children from Good Parents, Ontario Coalition for Accountability, Cause for Concern: Ontario's Long Term Care Homes, ImPatient for Change, Voices of Innocent Families, and Canada Court Watch.

Source: 610 CKTB

Forever Misfit

November 26, 2011 permalink

After the death of Amy Dye it took a lawsuit to open her adoption records in Kentucky. They show that Amy was adopted by a distant relative at age 5, but never fit in to her new family. She was murdered by one of her new siblings five years later.

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Kentucky's child protection system under scrutiny after girl's murder

Amy Dye
Amy Dye's 4th grade school photo. She was murdered in February 2011 at age 9, while in 4th grade in Todd County by her adoptive brother Garrett Dye.
Courtesy of South Todd Elementary School

ELKTON — When Kimberly Dye was trying to adopt her great-niece in 2006, she said her two sons were excited about a little sister joining the family, according to state documents.

Garrett Dye, then 12, was asked to write what he would tell friends about his new sister, Amy, who was 5, and what he hoped she would be like.

"I will tell them that she is the best sister ever," he wrote. "I would like her to be funny and happy wherever she goes."

Not quite five years later, on a bitter-cold evening in February, Garrett beat Amy, 9, to death in the gravel driveway of their Todd County home with a metal jack handle, then dragged her body about 100 yards behind the house and hid it in a thicket.

Between the adoption and the murder, the picture that emerges from records and interviews is of a teenager who began having worrisome behavior problems — including taking a gun to school — and a bright little girl dogged by abuse.

The record also points up what some people see as a failure of the state system designed to protect kids from abuse and neglect.

Years before her death, a school nurse and others had reported concerns several times that Amy was suffering rough treatment at her adoptive home.

However, caseworkers ignored or failed to properly investigate those concerns, a judge concluded.

The case has added to calls by lawmakers and child advocates for reforms and more openness in the state's child-protection system.

"I do think there was a systematic failure that led to her death," said state Rep. John Tilley, a Hopkinsville Democrat who chairs the House Judiciary Committee.

A new life in Kentucky

Amy's move to a new home amid the fertile farmland of southern Todd County was supposed to be a better chapter in a troubled life.

She had been physically and sexually abused as a toddler in Washington state, where she was born. By the time she was 3, her father was out of the picture and the state had taken her from her mother because of domestic violence in her home and other problems, according to records in her adoption file.

Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd opened records related to Amy earlier this month in response to a lawsuit by the Todd County Standard newspaper.

Amy was in at least two foster homes in Washington and also spent a year with her father's parents, but one foster home reported she was "a hand full" and didn't listen well.

Three other relatives, including Kimberly Dye, volunteered to take Amy in 2006, according to the file.

Dye, a divorced mother of two who worked as an office manager, told a Kentucky worker evaluating the potential adoption that she had always wanted a daughter.

Dye completed 30 hours of required foster-care training and said she would change her work schedule to be home when Amy got home from school.

She mailed Amy a book with photos of her home and pets, and sent her an Easter present. She said her sons Myles, then 15, and Garrett had decided to share a bedroom so Amy could have her own room.

Dye, a regular churchgoer and vacation Bible school teacher, described herself as friendly, patient and focused on whatever job was at hand.

"She will be the best choice in the care of this child, and this will prove to be the happiest of times for this young child and Ms. Dye," a reference, Cindy McElroy, wrote in March 2006.

State caseworkers had substantiated an allegation of abuse against the boys' father, Chris Dye, in 2003 after he hit Garrett about 30 times with a belt, but Kimberly and Chris Dye divorced in 2004.

Officials in Kentucky and Washington approved Kimberly Dye to adopt Amy, and she came to Kentucky in August 2006.

Caseworkers who followed up in December reported Amy had proudly showed them her "adorable" bedroom. She was enjoying her toys, had a new kitten and seemed extremely close to Dye and her sons.

"Overall, Amy has made an excellent adjustment to her new family, and this appears to have been an excellent placement for Amy," the caseworkers wrote.

Signs of abuse emerge

Within months, however, school officials began reporting concerns that Amy was being abused.

Starting in March 2007, a nurse or others at South Todd Elementary made numerous reports to state child-protective workers of suspected abuse or problems, according to state records and Shepherd's ruling.

The school officials reported seeing injuries on Amy.

In September, for instance, Amy said her brothers had hurt her, and there was a knot on her forehead and bruising around her eye.

In other instances, Amy said one of her brothers had kicked her, shot her in the arm with a BB gun, squeezed her face so hard the skin peeled and hit her with a shovel, according to the records.

Caseworkers talked to Kimberly Dye about the reports, although apparently not in every case.

Dye, who received a $551 monthly subsidy for adopting Amy, said that the girl was clumsy and bruised easily, and that there had been a problem with Amy falling and blaming her brothers.

Dye also told caseworkers that Amy often lied, and that she and her ex-husband Chris, who had moved back in with her and the children by early 2007, had discussed sending her to a relative who could get her therapy.

In some cases, state caseworkers referred the allegations to an outside agency but decided not to offer other services or take further action to monitor the family because Amy was allegedly hurt by a sibling, not a parent.

Shepherd said in his ruling that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services erred by claiming it had no duty to investigate the series of reports of sibling-on-sibling abuse.

Shepherd said the cabinet discounted or ignored the repeated reports of abuse.

Caseworkers also had other information that should have raised red flags, Shepherd said, including that Garrett had taken a gun to school; that he had been sent to a juvenile facility in 2008 in a drug case; that he had admitted substance-abuse problems; and that Chris Dye, who had abused Garrett earlier, had moved back in with his family after Amy came to live in the home.

"No action was ever taken by the cabinet to protect her" despite that information and credible reports of abuse, Shepherd said in his ruling.

Treated 'like a dog'

Other problems in the months before Amy was killed came to light during the investigation of her murder.

Kimberly Dye's sister, Tammie Lopez, told a caseworker that Kimberly Dye, apparently frustrated because Amy had been defecating on herself, had made the girl put her toys and clothes in a shed sometime in the winter of 2010.

Dye told Amy that "if she was going to act like a dog, she would be treated like one," Lopez said.

Lopez also that said Amy was told to stay outside one night with only a jacket for warmth and that Kimberly Dye scolded Garrett for letting the girl back into the house.

Kimberly and Chris Dye also allegedly left Amy in the parking lot of a Clarksville, Tenn., motel for a short time with her suitcase.

The couple took the child back home after no one picked her up but told her no one wanted her, Lopez said.

Kimberly Dye said she knew nothing about the incident, but Chris Dye, an emergency medical technician, admitted he left Amy at the motel briefly to teach her a lesson because she'd been lying.

The week before the murder, Kimberly Dye called for advice about putting Amy back with an adoption agency "because she is bad and won't listen," Lopez said.

Attempts to reach Kimberly and Chris Dye were not successful.

Excelling in school

Krista Stratton, Amy's teacher in the third and fourth grades, said she didn't see the incontinence or other problems that Amy's adoptive mother reported.

Amy was a bubbly girl who got off the bus with a smile, Stratton said, a gifted student who loved reading, poetry and art, and enjoyed science.

"She was just radiant," Stratton said "She excelled in school. She loved being there. It was almost like it was her bright spot."

Stratton said that Amy was very talkative and that she never saw any serious behavioral problems from Amy.

The day before she was killed, though, Amy took another girl's pudding and juice.

Stratton didn't see taking the items as a major offense, but school officials decided Amy would have in-school isolation the next day, Friday, Feb. 4, and sent a note home to her parents.

Amy told people at school that her parents were sending her away because of what had happened at lunch.

"They reported that Amy appeared very upset on Friday," a state caseworker wrote.

Punishment at home

When Amy got home, Chris Dye sent her to shovel gravel into tire tracks in the driveway as punishment.

Garrett Dye was with her, shoveling in the cold as punishment for taking his car somewhere he wasn't supposed to, according to the state file.

State police detective Lonnie Kavanaugh said that after awhile, Garrett told Amy to go in the house because he thought they'd done enough.

But Chris Dye sent her back out with a directive to keep at it, Kavanaugh said.

The detective thinks Garrett, who was stuck at home on a Friday night, got angry when he realized the chore wouldn't be over as soon as he'd hoped.

"That's when the anger starts to well up in him," Kavanaugh said.

"She's talking, he's mad. ... He flies off the handle."

Garrett said he hit Amy because she wouldn't be quiet, Kavanaugh said.

Garrett got the jack handle and beat his adoptive sister repeatedly. The autopsy report listed injuries to her head, chest, neck, shoulder and abdomen.

Amy, a biracial child with blue eyes who was 4 feet, 9 inches tall and weighed 76 pounds, died of trauma to the head and asphyxiation.

Garrett hid her body, changed his clothes and told his parents he didn't know where she was.

Chris and Kimberly Dye looked for Amy, then called friends to help and reported her missing.

Firefighters, rescue-squad workers, police and others helped look for Amy, finding her body after midnight.

Stratton had hugged Amy and told her she loved her at the end of school a few hours before. In the early hours of Feb. 5, people came to get her so she could talk to the police about her murdered student.

"Horrendous. I just remember freezing. I don't even remember saying anything," Stratton said. "It was like losing one of my own children."

A quick investigation

The investigation focused quickly on Garrett, the last person to see Amy.

Police arrested him on Super Bowl Sunday, less than 48 hours after the murder.

Dye, now 18, pleaded guilty to killing his sister. Todd Circuit Judge Tyler Gill sentenced him to 50 years in prison Wednesday.

Gill said Amy's murder was senseless, and he criticized the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for not doing more to protect the girl.

"This crime has drawn a lot of attention, has left this community dazed, confused and angry and searching for answers as to why this could have happened and why this happened," Gill said.

Gill called the state's child-welfare system dysfunctional, echoing the belief by some lawmakers and child advocates that Amy's case was not an isolated example.

Critics say the state could have done more to protect Amy, such as removing her from the home or monitoring the family.

Jill Midkiff, cabinet spokeswoman, said it appears the caseworker who handled reports of abuse to Amy in 2007 did not violate any cabinet standards. She noted that was during a prior administration, so the assessment was based only on the written record.

"As with any report, the worker must evaluate the veracity of the parties and judge the seriousness of the events at that time," Midkiff said. "Since there were no more reports from or about Amy in the 31/2 years preceding her murder by her brother, it seems the worker's actions were not implicated."

The cabinet has since revised policies and put in a new intake system for reports of abuse, "which ensures that there are checks and balances to assist workers in their duties," Midkiff said.

But state Rep. Tom Burch, D-Louisville, and Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, have said they want to hold hearings on whether the cabinet is being open on how it reports about children under its supervision.

Tilley said many state caseworkers do a heroic job and can feel overwhelmed by their caseloads. If lawmakers conclude high caseloads caused the failures in Amy's case, they need to fix that, he said.

Ideas for changes vary, such as giving county attorneys a role in monitoring child-abuse reports, but there is a sense that lawmakers need to act, Tilley said.

"Something has to change," Tilley said. "We can't have another Amy Dye."

Source: Lexington Herald Leader

The Bad Mother

November 25, 2011 permalink

Group home staffer Dave Warren criticizes fixcas:

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From:
David Warren [daveewan at rogers.com]
To:
"rtmq@fixcas.com" [rtmq at fixcas.com]
Subject:
it's not always in the child's best interest to be sent home
Date sent:
Wed, 23 Nov 2011 06:43:27 -0800 (PST)

Good morning,

I worked in a group home for boys age 12-18 and I have at least 2 cases I can show you where the child's best interest was not in being sent back home.  In the first, the boy's mom is an admitted drug user.  She smokes up in the presences of her children; as she has more than one, but I only had direct contact with him.  She openly admitted to drug use but that she could handle it.  She refused to follow court orders or only paid lip service to them and she never followed through on any agreements she made with the CAS.  On his last home visit before being sent home, he returned to our house with a black eye that he received from his brother.  What did the mother do?  Where was she when this happened?  She was in the house and was unable to stop it.  So is a parent with a drug problem and the inability to protect one of her children from another deserving to have her children?  If this boy ends up dead, in the hospital or jail due to being returned to his family... what then...  Oh and by the way every time this boy returned back to the group home he was sullen, depressed and underfed.  Come on buddy not all people who can pro create should be allowed to raise children.

thank you
Dave Warren

Let's see, "she never followed through on any agreements she made with the CAS". How unusual. We have interviewed hundreds of parents, and a large proportion report hearing CAS workers say: "If you want your kids back do ...". The parents almost always do the thing demanded, but we have yet to hear of a case where CAS returned the child in accord with the promise. Maybe the mother was just learning from social workers.

"She smokes up [drugs] in the presences of her children". So? The mother has faults. Who doesn't? Counting by researchers has shown that parents with faults, even serious ones, provide better child care than fosters or group homes. [1] [2] [3 pdf].

"Every time this boy returned back to the group home he was sullen, depressed and underfed". You don't say whether he was depressed by his mother's maltreatment, or homesick for her. And underfed? Did your service ever think of providing food for the family, instead of stealing the boy?

"If this boy ends up dead, in the hospital or jail due to being returned to his family... what then?" Then he will be in all the newspapers. Child protectors love to tell us about deaths after foster care. Unlike deaths in their own care, which they do their best to conceal, social services want us to know about deaths after returning kids to parents. Read about the current Ohio case of DeMarcus Jackson in the expand block below or the Campione case in Barrie of five years ago. Fixcas does not usually report these cases, because the outcome is the same as it would have been without any child protection system. Or maybe not. Sometimes intervention drives a parent to the breaking point, killing a child he could have raised otherwise. [1] [2] [3]. The number of filicides after foster care is small, dozens at most in a year over the US and Canada. You cannot use these small numbers to justify taking hundreds of thousands of kids from mom and dad.

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Damarcus Jackson laid to rest

DeMarcus Jackson
DeMarcus Jackson

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

As Antrone Smith and Latricia Jackson stand accused in the murder of their son, Damarcus Jackson, remaining loved ones, including the boy's foster family, said their final goodbyes on Monday.

Damarcus died Oct. 21 after police and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters say the boy was beaten so severely, internal bleeding took his life. Family members of Antrone Smith, who had just regained custody of the boy and his siblings a few months earlier, say the father is innocent and would never have hurt his son. However, Deters is seeking the death penalty against Smith.

"It's hard to comfort people in the midst of this kind of tragedy. A child with so much future ahead of him, so much potential, loses their life in such a tragic way," said Pastor Damon Lynch III. "So what we'll try to do is find words from scripture, from the life of Christ, from the Gospels, to speak to the family, to speak to the community to bring comfort, but also try to speak words of justice. Sometimes the system seems to let us down and I think in this case it let DeMarcus down."

An independent review of Hamilton County's Department of Job & Family Services will be done at the request of County Commissioners.

Pastor Lynch has used his pulpit to preach to those who are responsible for raising children.

"We talked about a generation of young men who've grown up and all they know is how to hit. They were hit as kids and they think that works. It doesn't work for children. If you hit a child in the stomach, they don't stop crying, they stop breathing," he said.

He also told FOX19 that if the community truly wants a way to help change the cycle of violence, that a parents' respite facility is one thing the city could use.

"We need places of respite," he said. "A respite is a place where a mom who's just tired can bring her child for a couple of hours while she goes to maybe get her hair done or just go take a nap. And we've tried to start one here and we'll probably try it again. I've talked about it for 21 years now – that's how important that is to me."

Joe and Latasha Tye, longtime foster parents who have been recognized by the city of Cincinnati for their outstanding work with foster children, have helped make the funeral arrangements for the boy they loved as if he were their own, having raised DeMarcus since he was 8 days old. Latasha Tye's aunt, Shona Harris, told FOX19 earlier in the week that her family would have done anything to keep the boy safe. Now, they are grieving a life that was ended too soon.

Jackson's funeral services were held at Rockdale Baptist Church.

Source: FOX19 Cincinnati

Social Worker Profile

November 25, 2011 permalink

A Waterloo CAS worker forges a damaging document, loses an exculpatory one, cuts off a mother's finances and checks herself in as a patient in a psychiatric hospital. All in the best interest of the child.

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Waterloo Regions CAS forging signatures on court documents and destroying evidence

Recently in the past few months I was contacted by a mother that has had dealings with the Waterloo Region CAS office. After months of torturous separation from her child there have been discoveries made. One of the two workers on her case forged a signature on a court document, that same worker also has “lost” important documents that clearly would clear this mother’s name of the accusations being made against her. This worker also felt the need to contact the Child Tax Benefit office as well as Ontario Housing in an attempt to completely disable this mother from having her child returned. Just in the past week or so it was brought to this woman’s attention, and another mother dealing with the same worker, that the CAS employee was on an indefinite leave of absence. Well …. it has been confirmed tonight that this worker is indeed on a leave of absence, and has been for two weeks in the local hospitals psychiatric facility. After some careful investigation this information was confirmed. My question is, “Did they plan to keep it secret and bring her back to the job?” I only ask this because one of the mother’s just had a court appearance and the worker was not present and the courts were told that she was in hospital with some health issues. Scary, scary stuff!

Source: mamajustice blog, pointed out by Catherine Frei

social worker in trash can

Sudbury Strike

November 25, 2011 permalink

Children's Mental Health workers, members of OPSEU local 666 in Sudbury, are on strike. They are not the folks who take your children, but the ones who keep them doped up. Here is their handout pamphlet (pdf).

Sudbury - While they haven't been able to negotiate a collective agreement, Paul Jalbert and Dr. Bertrand Guindon agree on one thing — the OPSEU Local 666 strike will be hard on families who need children's mental health services.

Source: YouTube, video local copy (mp4)

Addendum: From Windsor, an article on the takeover of Glengarda Child and Family Services reveals the real treatments constituting children's mental health. You have to look to the last quarter of the enclosed article.

  • A girl dragged down the hall by four staff.
  • A rape victim being restrained on the floor by four adults with a man standing between her legs.
  • Children locked in safe rooms for hours with staff blocking the door.
  • Restraint.

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Scathing report prompted WRH takeover of Glengarda

'Seen as a holding tank for children'

Glengarda Child and Family Services
Glengarda Child and Family Services, shown Nov. 24, 2011, was recently absorbed by Windsor Regional Hospital.
Photograph by: DAN JANISSE, The Windsor Star

WINDSOR, Ont. - Allegations of a “toxic” workplace, harsh treatment of children and a threat by a local school board to cut ties with Glengarda Child & Family Services led to the agency’s recently announced takeover by Windsor Regional Hospital, The Star has learned.

According to an Ontario government report last year, the relationship between Glengarda and the community agencies it worked with had deteriorated so much that it was unlikely the mental health facility could correct problems with its day treatment program by itself.

“It is difficult to support the notion that Glengarda can ‘fix’ the current situation with a ‘work plan’ and some ‘program changes,” said the scathing report obtained by The Star. “It is unlikely that this approach would bring a lasting resolution or would bridge the substantial rift that has been created with community partners. Trust has been shattered. A drastic rethink of Glengarda’s current approach will be required to move forward.”

Other highlights of the Clinical and Financial Review of Glengarda, dated Oct. 30, 2010, by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services:

“At times children are discharged with very little notice to community making successful reintegration difficult.”

“Glengarda is seen as a ‘holding tank’ for children rather than a treatment program.”

“Many comments from community partners about ‘children coming out worse’ lacking in any coping strategies and or behavioural management strategies.”Three weeks ago, an agreement to create a one-stop shop for school-aged children’s mental health services was billed as an amalgamation of services between Windsor Regional Hospital and Glengarda. In reality, Windsor Regional will take control of operations, including the $3.2-million annual budget of Glengarda, which helps about 300 six- to 12-year-olds every year with a staff of about 70.

Interim executive director Alan Goyette was brought in to replace Beth Kuhn, who resigned as the head of Glengarda shortly after the ministry completed its review. Goyette said conditions have improved drastically at the agency over the last year thanks to the report and dedicated staff.

“The Clinical and Financial Review really does not describe Glengarda in November of 2011,” Goyette said. “We’re a very different organization with different approaches to everything.”

Goyette is a former social worker with the Greater Essex County District School Board — which had served notice to pull its 10 teachers from the school program at Glengarda before the ministry spent two days at the agency in September 2010 and interviewed 53 stakeholders.

He said he has implemented training programs with his staff, whom he lauds as committed and professional, and says procedures and morale have improved remarkably.

“Right now there is not a toxic environment here,” said Goyette, noting that his agency has helped many children and their families improve their lives over the years. “That report really paints a picture of a different time period.”

David Musyj, CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital, said though he has not seen the ministry review of Glengarda, he is aware of it and will bear it in mind as the process of taking over the facility unfolds over the coming year.

“We have to go forward with the process with our eyes wide open and look at the recommendations that were made,” Musyj said. “We have a very strong culture and financial performance at Windsor Regional Hospital and we’re confident that will continue when this process eventually takes place.

“At the end of the day, what is important to us is that children and families benefit.”

The ministry document says the agency went through an “extremely turbulent” time, and notes that some staff acknowledged they sometimes restrained children because they didn’t have the resources to better handle the situation.

According to the report, a community partner “described the traumatic impact of witnessing a young girl being dragged down the hall by four staff.”

A former employee at Glengarda told The Star about witnessing a rape victim being restrained on the floor by four adults with a man standing between her legs.

“It was inappropriate,” said the former employee, who noticed other questionable practices. “It was commonplace for children to be locked in safe rooms for hours with staff blocking the door.”

Goyette said one of the first issues he addressed when he took over at Glengarda was the use of restraint, which he said is only used as a last resort to protect children and staff.

“The numbers of restraints have gone down significantly and the ones we do have tend to be a lot shorter than they used to be,” Goyette said. “We do not drag kids. These are things that I implemented immediately when I came in. Now you only step in and out.”

Goyette said each child’s individual crisis-management plan is now more detailed and includes more awareness of personal history, including trauma.

Goyette said the report has led to good news, in that Glengarda now works better with other agencies, and that staff have had increased training with crisis management, for when children are occasionally out of control.

Best of all, Goyette said, the new one-stop shop model will make it easier for school-aged children to receive the mental health care they need, with a streamlined process through one intake agency: Windsor Regional Hospital.

“Whatever happened before happened,” Goyette said. “But what we’re doing is moving forward and making things better for kids and families.”

Source: Windsor Star, pointed out by Dolores Sicheri

Naked Communism

November 24, 2011 permalink

Today we have food for thought directed toward readers who think that the defense of the family is only a peripheral struggle, secondary to the economy or foreign wars. A 1958 book by W Cleon Skousen titled The Naked Communist featured a list of 45 goals for Amercan communism. It was the result of assimilating over a hundred works by communists themselves. Communists of that era dreamed not of a direct takeover of America, their numbers were too small for that, but to disrupt American culture and soften up the country for a later takeover. Of the 45 goals in their agenda, 13 (in the expand block) concern families, children and education.

In the 53 years since publication a surprising amount of the actual or feared communist agenda has been achieved. Child protection systems are currently implementing goals 38 to 41, and are cooperating with the realization of several others. The communist movement itself was too tiny to contribute to their aims. Cultural trends with congruent goals and the mindless direction of bureaucratic incentives are responsible for most of the changes. Skousen's list serves as a reminder that family law is on the front lines in the efforts to protect, or destroy, civil liberties.

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  • 17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
  • 18. Gain control of all student newspapers.
  • 19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.
  • 24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.
  • 25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
  • 26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."
  • 28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."
  • 38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand or treat.
  • 39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.
  • 40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity, masturbation and easy divorce.
  • 41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
  • 42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use "united force" to solve economic, political or social problems.

Source: Wikipedia, but there are many other copies on the internet

CAS Investigated Child Injury

November 24, 2011 permalink

Police and CAS are investigating injuries to a child in Hamilton. The press says almost nothing about CAS.

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Mother charged in toddler’s assault

home of Donald Quick
TODDLER The 26-year-old mother of the toddler who was seriously injured in a Cannon Street East home last week has been charged by police one week after her boyfriend was charged with similar crimes.
Gary Yokoyama/The Hamilton Spectator

The 26-year-old mother of a toddler seriously injured in a Cannon Street East home last week has been charged by police.

The woman, who’s not being named to protect the identity of the child, is facing charges of aggravated assault, assault and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

The 20-month-old sustained serious head injuries and was rushed to hospital a week ago.

She remains in hospital.

The charges are the result of a joint investigation between Hamilton police victim’s of crime unit and the Hamilton Catholic Children's Aid Society.

The mother is jointly charged with Donald Quick, 31, who was charged on Nov. 11 with aggravated assault and assault.

The negligence charge against the mother is also for the weeks leading up to the assault.

She was arrested Thursday.

Quick is scheduled for a bail hearing today. The woman is also scheduled to appear in court today.

Source: Hamilton Spectator

Mother Saved

November 23, 2011 permalink

Lisa
click for bigger picture

Pat Niagara

Homeless, Cold and Scared Niagara Mom goes home

We got word today, Lisa the lady on the video "Homeless, Cold and Scared" gets to go back home, CAS contacted her today and is now allowing her to go back home and live in the basement apartment and by the end of the week should be in the full home.

*We know CAS is on the pages and watching the videos. We believe that the video made with Lisa in her van may have opened the eyes of CAS Niagara. CAS stepped up and did the right thing today by allowing Lisa back home.

Source: Facebook

This is the mother in the story Freeze Mom. In later postings Pat confirms that the mother now has unrestricted use of her own home. It is likely that the public embarrassment of the web postings induced CAS to change their treatment of this family.

Social Worker Thug

November 23, 2011 permalink

Police in New Zealand are investigating a social worker accused of punching 15-year-old foster boy Robert Stuart in the nose. The boy ran away.

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Robert Stuart
Robert Stuart
(from another news report)

CYF suspends staffer in assault probe

A Nelson social worker accused of hitting a 15-year-old Richmond boy who then went missing has been suspended and is expected to be interviewed by police today.

Detective Senior Sergeant Wayne McCoy confirmed the boy, Robert Stuart, was located yesterday and interviewed at the Nelson Police Station about an alleged assault in which the boy received a bleeding nose at the Richmond Police Station on November 8.

"I can tell you the police were aware of it because I was notified on the 8th when the incident took place. I gave advice. Part of that advice was to have the 15-year-old evidentially interviewed on the following date."

A specialist interviewer had to be used because of the boy's age. "If it's going to end up in court, we need to do it properly."

But that interview never happened because the boy went missing, Mr McCoy said. He did not know where he had been in the meantime or how he came to be found yesterday.

"All I know is he was at the police station and we were able to interview him. Now it's only fair that we put the allegation to the other party involved."

Mr McCoy said he hoped this would be done today.

"As a result of the interview yesterday, further inquiries will be done."

Child Youth and Family confirmed its staff member had been stood down as a result of the investigation into the alleged assault.

"We are taking this extremely seriously," southern regional director Kelly Anderson said in a statement. "I have commenced an HR investigation which will establish the full facts of what happened. Until that time the staff member concerned has been suspended. This ministry has a zero tolerance policy and if this staff member is found to have assaulted this boy, that staff member will be dismissed. We are also working to ensure appropriate arrangements for the boy's care are put into place."

Source: Stuff.co.nz

Memorial for Delonna

November 23, 2011 permalink

candle

Today would have been the first Birthday of Delonna Victoria Sullivan. Pat Niagara created a video tribute (YouTube and local copy mp4). Mother Jamie's message is in the expand block.

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Happy 1st Birthday Delonna Sullivan (Nov 23, 2011)

Happy Birthday to Jamie Sullivan's baby girl who would have turned 1 year old on November 23, 2011.

Delonna Sullivan lost her life just after 6 days after the Children's Aid took her from her home by mistake.


A message from Mommy to her baby girl Delonna

Today you would be 1. Probably walking and talking. I heard you laugh once before you were stolen away from me and the sound echoes in my memory as does your beautiful smile you had just for me. My perfect sweet angel this day is just for you and my heart aches that you are not here so I can see you enjoy your cake and ice cream and open your first birthday present. They are all here for you anyway because I hope in my heart that you see that I am still celebrating the best day of my life for you. You are the best thing that ever happened to me and I will never forget how special you are. Your cake and ice cream will be here waiting for you and the candle is waiting for your angels breath. With all the love in my heart.. Mom


Source: YouTube

Leaving no doubt of her commitment, Jamie baked a cake for her late daughter.

Birthday cake for Delonna Victoria Sullivan

You can see more on Delonna at news and obituary.

Fighting for Para-Legals

November 22, 2011 permalink

Harry Kopyto is continuing his fight on behalf of para-legals, and on behalf of affordable representation for families caught up in the court system. Mr Kopyto is schooled in the law, but was expelled by the bar over allegations of misconduct. He is now using his opportunity to defend against those allegations. The latest report is from Attila Vinczer. Follow all the details on Harry Kopyto's blog

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Attila Vinczer Attended the Harry Kopyto good character hearing at Osgoode Hall today where I asked the LSUC panel to allow me to video record the proceeding. Harry argued in favour of my doing so on my behalf. I stated to the panel that it was in the public interest to do so as not everyone could attend as they had to be at work. I noted that this process and outcome thereof affects all Canadians who ought to have access to our legal system. He already had leave from the LSUC panel to record his hearing. I saw the CCW pamphlet circulating that shows how to seek leave to record your own court proceeding. The panel asked me to put a motion forward seeking leave to video record the proceeding. I offered to submit an oral motion right there and then, but the panel refused to hear me and asked that I follow Rule 7 of the Rules of Procedure.

To watch Harry tear apart a police officer during cross examination was priceless. This cop of 16 years was hired by the LSUC in an attempt to find information that would support their witch hunt endeavour against Harry who has and continues to fight fervently for all Canadians's rights. The right to have access to our legal system that is currently controlled by lawyers accessible to those with money. The poor are subject to tyranny and a lack of access to the legal system. Often even those with money are stripped to the bone of their life savings while they are made to pay legal fees that are outrageously high.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

CAS Don't Need No Stinkin' Laws

November 22, 2011 permalink

Chris York draws attention to a case argued before the Child and Family Services Review Board by two Canada Court Watch members. The case arose out of an incident in March 2011. Two CAS workers and three policemen approached the home of CY demanding entry. CY allowed the police to inspect his home without permitting the CAS workers to enter.

The board made its decision on July 4, but it has only recently been published. It ordered the CAS to provide the applicant CY with reasons why they attended his home without a warrant, and why they sent an unregistered social worker to do the job. This means there is now a tiny amount of official authority supporting the contention that CAS is violating the law by employing unregistered social workers.

And what were the CAS reasons? CAS replied with: (1) They did not send a registered worker because one was not available and (2) They did not need a warrant under the CFSA.

Freeze Mom

November 20, 2011 permalink

mother freezing

FACS Niagara has found a new way to get custody of a child — let mom freeze to death. The case involves a mother, a stepfather and fourteen-year-old daughter who are on good terms, communicating daily by phone. Pat Niagara interviewed her on video, YouTube or local copy (mp4).

While the mother was undergoing surgery in a Hamilton hospital CAS lawyers were in a St Catharines courtroom on October 31 getting an order against her by default. Her daughter was allowed to return home to her stepfather, but the mother was ordered out. The mother does not wish to risk returning her daughter to a group home, so is complying with the order. For this low-income family that means sleeping in her van. CAS has refused to help by providing shelter for the mother. Doctors advised the mother to stay indoors for eight weeks of recuperation, since exposure to infections could be serious in her weakened condition. Temperatures at this season in the Niagara region are within a few degrees either way of freezing.

This is a shotgun divorce that could soon turn into a shotgun funeral.

$220,000 to Shut Up

November 20, 2011 permalink

Mother Michelle Stewart, whose son Nathan Jackson-Stewart died in custody of Australian DHS, has refused an offer of $220,000 in compensation because it came with a confidentiality clause. DHS wants to permanently prevent her from talking about her son's death.

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Pensioner Michelle Stewart refuses to be gagged with $220,000 in hush money

Michelle Stewart
Michelle Stewart holds a precious picture of her late son Nathan.
Picture: Rob Leeson Herald Sun

A MUM whose son died suspiciously has been offered $220,000 by the Department of Human Services to end her fight for justice and keep the deal secret.

Pensioner Michelle Stewart - whose son Nathan was aged 16 when he died from a stab wound to the heart - has received the six-figure offer in a legal letter from the DHS.

But the letter linked the money to a confidentiality clause that would have barred her from talking about the details of the settlement.

"It's all about the suppression to them, never speaking about it again," she said.

In a brave move motivated by a mother's love for her son rather than money, Ms Stewart has turned her back on the hush fund and chosen to tell her story through the Sunday Herald Sun.

"But it's about the principle, it's about doing what is right, it's about them being accountable to some degree and paying some respect," she said.

Nathan died in a Melbourne hospital in April 2005, months after his family and school had raised concerns about his care.

Ms Stewart has staged a six-year legal battle against the DHS and the Angliss Hospital - where he was first treated for the fatal wound - claiming negligence and failing in a duty of care.

In a bid to stop the case going to court, the DHS has sought a settlement by offering her a one-off payout but demanding that she never talk of the deal.

A letter from lawyers representing the DHS shows the department was willing to pay $220,000 on condition there was a confidentiality clause.

Ms Stewart also claims the DHS told her at mediation she could never talk about what happened to her son under the terms of the deal.

"They can't even admit that they made a mistake, they can't even say 'sorry'," she said.

Ms Stewart said she was first offered $50,000 by Eastern Health in 2008 to sign a gag clause. That was later raised to $80,000, which she also refused.

In April this year the DHS made her the $220,000 offer during mediation, on condition that the department denied liability and she sign an order "to keep the terms of the settlement of the proceedings and the terms of the compromise ... confidential".

She was given two weeks to sign the DHS deal but declined, last night describing the offer as "blood money" and adding: "You can't put a price on silence.

"They want me to sign away my son's story - pay me to sweep it under the carpet.

"Where is the dignity in that? It's saying 'shut up'."

Bronwyn Perry, spokeswoman for Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge, refused yesterday to comment on the Minister's involvement in the case or her knowledge of the gag clause.

"Given the litigation is ongoing, we are unable to comment," Ms Perry said.

The Government has assembled a high-powered legal team, believed to include three QCs, to fight the case in the Supreme Court next year.

Ms Stewart will represent herself in the trial, which is expected to last three weeks, but is unsure how she will pay for legal costs that already total more than $279,000.

"You do feel powerless when you're up against such a big government body, but he was my son and I loved him so I can't give up the fight," she said.

In a statement, DHS spokesman Steve Pogonowski refused to respond to questions about the offer.

"The legal process is ongoing, so we are unable to comment further," he said.

"Out-of-court settlements and confidentiality agreements are a personal matter between the litigant and the department."

Ms Stewart vowed to get justice for Nathan and said she wanted an apology from the department and for it to accept some blame for his death: "I have had to fight for the right to have my son's voice heard, I should not have had to do that."

"My son has died in vain if his voice has not been heard. I often say the day Nathan died, I died too. I built my life around him - this has torn me apart," she said.

In a 2008 investigation into Nathan's death, State Coroner Jennifer Coate described him as "an intelligent and articulate boy who had been exposed to a great deal in his short life".

Ms Stewart said Nathan was taken out of her care due to domestic violence at home. No one has ever been charged in connection with Nathan's death.

Opposition child safety spokesman Luke Donnellan said it was outrageous for the DHS to try to "bury" such a serious issue.

"Mistakes have been made. Why not just admit that, learn the lesson and move on?" he said.

"Nobody would ever want this to happen again."

The DHS received 32 reports of child deaths last financial year and the office of the Child Safety Commissioner launched 27 inquiries into the deaths of children known to child protection workers last year.

Source: Herald Sun (Australia)

CAS Saves Child

November 20, 2011 permalink

Helena Wiebe

Source: linkedin

Today's story is in the man-bites-dog category: a child genuinely helped by Windsor CAS.

Fixcas does not repeat puffery from CAS, the kind that comes without names, because it is too tempting for CAS to alter details of an anonymous story. A Texas newspaper was embarrassed when it was caught printing a fake Christmas story from local child protectors. Today's story has the real name of the child, Helena Wiebe, now an adult. Most fixcas stories are negative toward CAS not because of censorship, but because so few families have good experiences.

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CAS came to her rescue

Helena Wiebe still remembers the day when, as a 15-year-old numbed by another horrible day of abuse, she walked into her backyard with a knife - determined to escape.

But before she plunged the long blade into her heart, an "angel" spoke to her.

"I looked up at the sky and it felt like the clouds were coming down on me," she recalled Friday. "It was grey and there was this weird feeling that came over me and I thought, 'I'm going to do this.'

"And out of my left ear I heard these little footsteps and I turned and I saw my youngest brother come running up, saying, 'Nina, what are you doing?'"

The sound of her nickname from such a loving, needy soul brought a change of heart.

"I realized if I had gone through with it, what it would have done to him and the rest of my family," said the Windsor marketing professional who turns 27 Monday.

"So I always say my little brother is my angel." Wiebe soon finally told a friend about what she calls "every kind of abuse," which started before she can remember at the hands of a related adult male.

She had been afraid to share her terrible secret because she loved her six brothers. But now it was out of her hands: the friend told a counsellor, who told the Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society, which promptly came to the rescue.

Wiebe is telling her story to the media for the first time as part of a new provincewide promotional campaign called "I am Your Children's Aid." The local CAS also includes the tag line, "I Am a Success Story."

The idea is as simple as it is rare for the CAS: promote the organization with personal stories so that more people might help.

"It takes a village to raise a child," said Bill Bevan, CEO of the Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society. "But we have to let people inside the village a little bit to really understand what we're doing so more people will aspire to help children in the community."

The local CAS has been protecting the community's most vulnerable for 111 years.

With an annual budget of $55 million, the agency has more than 600 children in care, down from a peak of more than 800.

Source: Windsor Star

Addendum: Another woman, 27-year-old Jane Kovarikova, also thanks children's aid. This story is not so clear on whether she succeeded because of, or in spite of, CAS.

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Jane Kovarikova
Jane Kovarikova spoke at the Children's Aid Society's Magic of the Season fundraiser, held at the South Shore Centre, Friday night.
J.T. MCVEIGH/BARRIE EXAMINER/QMI AGENCY

Celebrating success

It was during her critical-thinking class at university that Jane Kovarikova learned one of the most important lessons of her life.

"I learned that my results come directly from my efforts, as do my failures," Kovarikova told the assembled 200 people gathered to celebrate the 27-yearold's successes at the Magic of the Season Children's Aid Society (CAS) event, Friday night at Barrie's Southshore Centre.

"Foster kids face so many obstacles," she said. "Through education, I was able to start on a level playing field and you really get a chance to enter that next stage of life as an equal."

The mature 27-year-old didn't begin life with many opportunities.

After her parents escaped the Iron Curtain surrounding the Czech Republic in the 1970s, they made their way to Canada. Struggling with their new lives, their young daughter started missing school and was taken from them at the age of five. Kovarikova bounced around a few foster homes, was brought back to her parents, but was removed from their care and became a ward of the state at age 12.

After another series of foster homes and a 'square-pegroundhole' attitude toward high school, Kovarikova said she was living on her own at 16.

"At high school, test scores didn't matter, it was whether you attended enough classes. These (CAS) kids come from different backgrounds, there has to be a more creative approach to getting them through high school," she said.

Recent statistics show her struggles with secondary school are similar to most Crown wards. Just 44% of the roughly 8,000 children under the society's care graduate from high school.

Fewer still will even consider a post-secondary education.

With the help of the province's advocate for children and youth, former CAS kids are asking for more help from the province.

"With education for CAS kids, if we can break the cycle of abuse and poverty, it's over," said Kimberly Carson of the Children's Aid Foundation. "However, for post-secondary school, we're it -- there's no call home for money. We're the parents."

Friday night's annual CAS fundraiser of $75,000 more than helped pave the way for the next generation of CAS kids who can take Kovarikova's message of self-determination to heart and regard college or university as a way out.

She started at Georgian College for a general arts degree at 17, switched to Laurentian University earning a bachelor of arts in psychology and kept on going.

With a masters of science in human rights from the London School of Economics, Kovarikova has landed herself back in Ontario as the legislative assistant to Barrie MPP Rod Jackson.

With the vision of more successful CAS students on the horizon, longtime CAS volunteer Frank Berdan approached Georgian College, and a $25,000 scholarship for local Crown wards was started.

After the announcement Friday of the new Georgian scholarship, bidding also began on endowments for students, which raised more than $11,000 towards post-secondary schooling.

"It's one charity where people can see where the money is going," said Jackson, who with his wife, Joanne, were hosts of Friday's event. "We are helping out kids tonight who otherwise wouldn't have shot."

Of the 200 attendees of the event, many bid on the silent auction items that included everything from a print by artist A.Y. Jackson, to a CCM bike, a Beatles Abbey Road print or an experience item, such as a skating party with Olympic figure-skater and city councillor, Jennifer Robinson.

With Kevin Slavish Design's donation of the evening's clever design and ambiance, hors d'oeuvres by At the Five restaurant on Dunlop Street, and the enchanting voice and guitar combo of Michelle Guy and Brad Hilliker, the soiree may be hard to top by next year's hosts, Barry Peacock and his wife, Dr. Liz Anderson.

Source: Barrie Examiner

Cars Needed

November 20, 2011 permalink

Muskoka CAS is buying 14 cars. Chad Wells comments that in a recent case Muskoka CAS found cuts, scrapes and bruises on a child but took no photographs. A report from the local police and the the family doctor contradicts what FYCSM claim to have seen. The bruises are merely reported by social workers, or imagined by social workers. How ironic that an agency that cannot use a camera can afford to purchase cars by the dozen.

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Request for Proposals

Please be advised that Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka is requesting proposals for the sale or lease of thirteen (13) or fourteen (14) vehicles as follows:

Vehicle Requirements

  1. Four or Five passenger vehicle
  2. Fuel efficient
  3. Automatic transmission
  4. Cruise control
  5. Air conditioning
  6. Remote entry
  7. Floor mats
  8. ABS brakes
  9. Air Bags/curtains
  10. Tinted glass (if a standard option)
  11. Three child seat anchors
  12. Roadside assistance

Dealer Requirements (lease and purchase option)

  1. One set of snow tires for each vehicle
  2. Dealer to provide pick-up and delivery of vehicles for servicing and tire changing as required from Bracebridge office.
  3. Three sets of keys per vehicle

Dealer Requirements (lease option)

  1. Regular service and maintenance included in lease cost
  2. Seasonal tire changes included in lease cost
  3. 25,000 km per year allowance
  4. Annual interior cleaning included in lease cost

Financing Requirements

  1. 4 year lease pricing to be provided separately
  2. Outright purchase pricing to be provided separately
  3. Purchase pricing with 4 year financing option to be provided separately

Delivery to be completed no later than January 1, 2012.

  • Please provide proposals to Kathy Davis, Director of Administration, no later than 2:00 pm November 30, 2011.
  • Questions can be forwarded to Kathy Davis at: kathy.davis@fycsm.ca.
  • Proposals must include vehicle specifications, financing requirements as listed above, delivery information.

Bids will be evaluated based on:

Price/cost

Fuel efficiency ratings

Greenhouse gas emission ratings

Dealer service history (references accepted)

Warranty

Roadside assistance plan

Suitability to handle tasks to be performed

Lifecycle evaluation

Notes:

  1. It is the policy of FYCSM to select vehicles of a minimum size and engine capacity, which will appropriately handle tasks to be performed, and enable effective and efficient program delivery.
  2. It is the policy of FYCSM to support government of Ontario initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. It is the policy of FYCSM to purchase vehicles equipped with standard manufacturer option packages that optimize life-cycle costs, purchase price, and subsequent resale value of the vehicles. Options or packages that are for comfort or convenience only must not be ordered on society fleet vehicles.
  4. It is the policy of FYCSM to complete a lifecycle evaluation prior to the acquisition of any new or additional fleet vehicles. Lifecycle evaluation should include capital cost, fuel costs, and the cost of greenhouse gas emissions.
  5. The lowest price Proposal or any Proposal will not necessarily be accepted. FYCSM shall not be obliged to provide reasons for the rejection of any Proposal.
  6. By inviting a proposal, FYCSM makes no commitment or obligation to the respondents in any way, specifically no obligation to enter into any contract as a result of this RFP. In particular, FYCSM shall in no event be responsible for any costs incurred in the preparation and submission of a proposal in response to this RFP.

Source: Family Youth and Child Services of Muskoka

Witch Hunt

November 19, 2011 permalink

The sex abuse scandal at Penn State is causing a new witch hunt, similar to what happened at daycare centres in the 1980s. Richard Wexler has some good insights:

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Child abuse at Penn State: The ugly road from Happy Valley, part one

UPDATE 1: CHECK OUT THIS TIMELY REMINDER OF THE PITFALLS OF FORCED CHILD ABUSE REPORTING FROM PHILADELPHIA CITYPAPER

UPDATE 2: IN CASE ANYONE STILL BELIEVES THE HYSTERIA OVER REPORTING CHILD ABUSE WON'T CAUSE PEOPLE TO DO SOME REALLY STUPID THINGS: APPARENTLY, IT ALREADY HAS

UPDATE 3: IN THE CASE DISCUSSED IN THIS STORY, THE CHILD REALLY WAS ABUSED. IMAGINE WHAT IT'S LIKE FOR A CHILD WHO WAS NOT.

  • The myth that “children don’t lie” is back
  • The hype is back: One “expert” suggests that two-thirds of Americans either were victims of child sexual abuse – or have a sibling who was.
  • The 1980s witchhunt mentality may be making a comeback, too – and it’s children who really have been abused who are going to suffer most.

As I listened to the end of a segment of NPR’s Tell Me More fixcas copy (mp3) on Tuesday, I felt as though I’d been transported back in time. Suddenly it was the 1980s again, when a bizarre, hyperbolic, myth-fueled reaction to the serious and real problem of child sexual abuse led to a whole series of tragedies of its own. In the wake of the Penn State horrors, it looks like those myths are making a comeback.

Anchor Michel Norris was leading a discussion of “ how to teach children to be alert to potentially abusive behavior and how to get them to speak up …”

At the very end, Norris raised an issue that, as far as I know, no other journalist has had the courage even to mention since the Penn State story broke:

There is an awful other side to this and there have been examples of false accusations … a group of girls were angry at a gym teacher because he had punished them for passing notes or talking and so they made up an accusation which turned out to be false. So how do you recommend that parents navigate such a thing?

This is where the trip through time began, led by Dr. Leslie Walker of Seattle Children's Hospital.

It was 1980s mythology all over again as Walker declared:

I think you have to remember that one in three girls under the age of 18 do get sexually abused. And it's no different, it's the same number of boys under, before puberty. So when someone says that they have been abused you have to assume that it happened immediately … One in three people have been abused …”

The one-in-three number is utter nonsense, and I’ll deal with it in a post on Monday.

For now, consider the fact that, though she didn’t use the exact words, Walker was leading us back to the era of those 1980s catchphrases “children don’t lie” and “believe the children.”

It’s been such a long time since those phrases were all the rage, and such a long time since the hyped numbers were in vogue, that I had to go back to the book I wrote in 1990, Wounded Innocents (Prometheus Books, 1990, 1995) to review what happened and how much harm was done to children.

“CHILDREN DON’T LIE”

The issue of the truth of claims attributed to children wasn’t simple then, and it’s not simple now.

Of course, it is extremely unlikely that a very young child would make up out of whole cloth a story of being sexually assaulted.

In other cases, there is strong evidence that the children are not only telling the truth, but showing extraordinary courage in coming forward – courage for which they deserve wholehearted support. I would put the Penn State cases in that category.

But many allegations of sexual abuse involve situations that are far less clear-cut. So, for example, in Upstate New York, authorities concluded that children who had heard one of the now-ubiquitous “good touch / bad touch” lectures that supposedly prevent sexual abuse wound up falsely accusing their substitute teacher. But the children weren’t lying. They had confused normal affection with “bad touching.”

In addition, young children aren’t the ones who pick up the phone and call child abuse hotlines. Adults do that. And by that time the child might have been questioned repeatedly by a concerned parent or a therapist, or someone else who asked so many leading questions that what gets phoned into the hotline may bear little resemblance to what the child actually said.

Or the children are rewarded with praise for “disclosing” abuse and badgered if they don’t – a common problem in the “mass molestation” nightmare cases of the 1980s – cases that produced some remarkable allegations.

  • If children don’t lie about abuse, then Bakersfield California was a hotbed of cannibalism.
  • If children don’t lie about abuse there was a secret underground amusement park near Fort Bragg, California. You got in from the ocean by submarine.
  • If children don’t lie about abuse, then they were being flown from day care centers all over the country in planes to be molested, then returned in time to be picked up by their parents. Some of the molesters didn’t need a plane. They could fly through the air all by themselves.
  • If children don’t lie about abuse, some children in El Paso Texas had their eyes removed – and then put back,

Or the allegation may not come from a child at all. Consider this actual report to a child abuse hotline in Rochester, New York, about a young girl in the 1980s:

The victim and the suspect have been seen holding hands and walking while the suspect had his arm around the victim. The source also stated suspect used to live with the victim’s mother and the victim. He had moved out in the recent past but visits the home every day. The source also stated the victim goes away with the suspect for long periods of time. Source stated victim wears dresses, tights, and shoes. Source said it is rumored by children that the victim may be sleeping with suspect. No other information is available…

That was enough to prompt both Child Protective Services and the police to investigate. Here’s what they found out:

  • A doctor found no evidence of sexual abuse.
  • The man was a friend of the family.
  • According to both mother and child, when he slept over he slept on the couch.

Why was the little girl so nicely dressed when the man took her out? Because he was taking her to church.

And of course, older children may, in fact, have all sorts of reasons to lie, as in the case cited by Michel Norris (and notice how Walker simply ignored the case in her “answer.”)

Another key element of the “children don’t lie” myth was the claim, made with equal certainly, that in one situation children are always lying: when they recant. Any notion that a child could recant because the allegation was not, in fact, true – perhaps it had been the result of a coercive interrogation – is dismissed out of hand. Children only recant, it was said, to cover up for the abuser.

And sure enough, Walker revived that claim as well. Walker claimed she never, ever had a child claim abuse when it wasn’t true. But, she said,

I have seen kids recant, though. And kids back down from what really happened a lot of times because they feel like they're breaking up the family. They feel guilty. They feel that it's overwhelming and the community and people are all coming against them and they recant, but it doesn't mean that it didn't happen. I would always err on the idea that it did happen.

Too bad it’s the children themselves who often pay for that kind of error.

On Monday: Phony claims bolstered by phony numbers, and how it all hurts children

Source: Richard Wexler


Child abuse at Penn State: The ugly road from Happy Valley, part two:

Too little skepticism, and too much, both can hurt children.

In the previous post to this blog, I wrote about how the Penn State horrors threaten to spark a revival of the witchhunt mentality that dominated child welfare during the 1980s. Today’s “child savers” to use the term their 19th Century counterparts gave themselves, are reviving a series of myths about child abuse that hurt huge numbers of children more than two decades ago.

Because so much time has passed, many people have forgotten the lessons of that era, or never knew them. There was a time when I could use simple shorthand to remind reporters – I could just say “McMartin.” But there are reporters on the job today who hadn’t been born when the lurid allegations about mass molestation at the McMartin Preschool in Los Angeles first made headlines. So it’s well worth reviewing the lessons from that era.

SORRY, WRONG NUMBERS

One of those lessons has to do with phony numbers that nobody bothers to check – absurd claims about the prevalence of child sexual abuse that appear to have been pulled from thin air.

By 1990, there were studies attempting to estimate the percentage of people sexually abused during childhood that had come up with results ranging from one percent to 62 percent. The studies used widely varying definitions of abuse, some of them breathtakingly broad, and usually included abuse by anyone, not just cases subject to the jurisdiction of child protective services. But because large numbers attract more attention than small numbers, all through the 80s it was claimed, repeatedly that "one out of three girls and one out of ten boys will be sexually abused" during childhood.

Most of those claims, at least for the girls, could be traced back to a single, highly-publicized study which used extremely broad, vague definitions. But at least there was one study.

In the wake of Penn State, one news account after another claims that one out of four (or sometimes one out of three) girls and one out of six boys will be victims of child sexual abuse during their childhoods.

Typically the figure appears with no attribution at all, except some vague reference to “experts say” or “most experts believe.” I have yet to find a news account that cites an actual study of any kind, let alone a valid one. Instead there are quotes about how these crimes are so awful that we desperately want to “turn away” and refuse to face up to how widespread they are. In other words: if you try to check facts, you’re “in denial.”

Then, a segment of NPR’s Tell Me More last week, Dr. Leslie Walker of Seattle Children’s Hospital took things a step further, declaring:

I think you have to remember that one in three girls under the age of 18 do get sexually abused. And it's no different, it's the same number of boys under, before puberty. So when someone says that they have been abused you have to assume that it happened immediately … One in three people have been abused …”

Could we stop and think about that for a second? Most of us have at least one sibling. So if Walker’s number is correct, at least two-thirds of American adults either were sexually abused as children, or are siblings of a child sexual abuse victim.

If there are that many victims the number of perpetrators must be astronomical as well. Then you must add all the parents and others who are guilty of “neglect” because they should have known it was happening and “failed to protect” their children.

So if nothing else, if these claims were true the entire American child welfare system would have to be dismantled immediately – because if there are that many child molesters out there, the odds that children taken from their parents and placed in foster care will be molested are so staggering that foster care is way too dangerous an option. (As it happens, there is solid research indicating that there is child abuse in one-quarter to one third of foster homes, with an even worse record for group homes and institutions. Jerry Sandusky, who stands accused in the Penn State cases, was a foster parent and his charity began as a group home.)

THE REAL NUMBERS ARE BAD ENOUGH

The best evidence we have concerning the true prevalence of child sexual abuse comes from two comprehensive reviews of the scholarly literature.

The first is a review of 20 different studies conducted by seven Canadian researchers, published in 1991. They found that the studies with the best methodology consistently indicated that between 10 and 12 percent of girls under age 14 are sexually abused by someone during their childhoods. The 1980s study that produced the "one out of three" claim was singled out for criticism by these researchers.

A decade later, another comprehensive review of the literature put the actual figure at 9 to 11 percent for girls and 5 to 6 percent for boys. The review found that studies which met two fundamental tenets of good research, high response rates and large sample size, tended to find lower rates of abuse than the smaller, less representative studies.

Odds are the figure is lower today, since, as the Associated Press reports, there is strong evidence that the rate of child sexual abuse has declined significantly in recent years.

Those figures, like all of the best evidence concerning the true extent of child abuse in America, are cause for concern and action. The real numbers are bad enough. Exaggeration serves only to panic us into seeking "solutions" that hurt the children they are intended to help.

Right now, this kind of exaggeration and fear mongering can do even more harm.

HOW IT HURTS CHILDREN

In the 1980s, the rhetoric about “children don’t lie,” discussed in the previous post to this blog, and the absurd numbers made it easy for people to suspend reasonable skepticism when “child savers” started talking about satanic cults operating out of day care centers.

All those claims in the previous post about secret tunnels and child molesters with wings grew out of the way children were interrogated about allegations of sexual abuse in their day care centers or at the hands of their own parents. The result was a series of witchhunts across the country lasting all the way into the 1990s. The McMartin Preschool was only the most notorious. There were witchhunts that tore apart communities in Massachusetts, New Jersey, San Diego, Kern County, California, Jodan, Minnesota, and Wenatchee Washington, among others.

Hundreds of innocent people had their lives ruined, many were jailed. In the end, in almost every case, almost everyone accused was exonerated.

But they were not the ones who suffered most. As usual, the best efforts of the child savers backfired against the children. There were the children who suffered when they were separated from their jailed parents. There were the children who suffered when, at a very young age, they actually were persuaded by caseworkers and therapists that they’d been abused when they hadn’t. Some believe it to this day.

But children also suffered as a result of the climate and fear and paranoia spread by the child savers. Teachers and day care workers became afraid to hug their students – sometimes actually telling them to “give yourselves a pat on the back.” (Among the potential side effects: Children denied normal affection are easier prey for actual child molesters.) Men were largely driven out of pre-school teaching. Children were taught not simply to be prudent in dealings with adults but to be constantly fearful and on guard.

That seems to be making a comeback, too. One post-Penn State news story after another warns parents to never, ever let their children be alone with any other adult. (That’s going to make it rather difficult for teachers to meet with students having trouble with their homework or for guidance counselors to help them with personal problems, or for mentors to help kids with school projects.)

A Washington Times columnist warns that “ sports are the perfect hunting ground for perverts, pedophiles and other assorted monsters.”

Some go further. One Huffington Post blogger raged against “ how we encourage our kids to abandon their sense of self-trust -- their instinct and intuition -- in order to be polite through showing physical affection to adults.” He is referring to parents who, at holiday gatherings “pressure” the kids to “give your uncle a hug and kiss."

This blogger seems to suggest a child reluctant to do this, knows by “instinct and intuition” that uncle is a child molester. The possibility that uncle may just have bad breath or a scratchy beard does not seem to occur to him.

There was plenty of paranoia before Penn State (check out this list of absurdities, which I first discovered thanks to Lenore Skenazy at her Free-Range Kids blog. This one is my favorite). So it would be understandable if adults now hesitated to so much as smile at a child for fear of being accused of “grooming” that child into a sexual abuse victim. In fact, if this story from Florida is any indication, the paranoia is back, with a vengeance.

But there’s another way all this hurts children.

After the hysteria of the 80s came the skepticism of the 90s. There are children who almost certainly suffered because some people may have become too skeptical. In the wake of the collapse of the mass molestation cases there are bound to have been children who really were abused, but were not believed. Given how far back the allegations go, some of the Penn State victims may even be among them. As I wrote in my book, Wounded Innocents, in 1990: If so, the blame rests squarely with the child savers. They have managed to find one more way to destroy children in order to save them.

Ultimately, the Los Angeles Times would win a Pulitzer Prize for some of its writing about the McMartin case. But not for coverage of the case itself. Rather, the late David Shaw, the paper’s media critic, won it for a series asking why the media accepted all the wild claims from the child savers so easily. The headline in the first installment summed it up: “Where was skepticism in media?” it said.

Is it too much to ask for a little more skepticism this time, before it’s too late.

Source: Richard Wexler

Over the next few months, expect a large influx of new laws and regulations granting more power to child protection agencies. And even without any new laws, expect a surge in apprehensions, children taken from parents for their "protection".

There is much more on the 1980's witch hunts. People who prefer print can read Satan's Silence by Michael Snedeker and Debbie Nathan. Those who prefer movies can watch Witch Hunt narrated by Sean Penn. magnet link.

Addendum: A remarkable exchange shows that even the most ardent advocate of mandatory reporting is turning against it.

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Will more laws help children?

High-profile crimes can generate watershed changes in policy and practice. The publicity surrounding the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson helped lead to passage of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. The abduction of Adam Walsh prompted enactment of the Missing Children Act of 1982.

Today, the Penn State sexual-abuse case has lawmakers scurrying to pass legislation to protect children. The general sentiment is that state and federal laws requiring suspicions of child abuse to be reported should be expanded and strengthened.

I'm not sure, however, whether that kind of legislation will protect more children from abuse. While there is a possibility that the current debate will improve laws and close the cracks in the system, we should not rush to expand mandatory reporting laws without care and deliberation.

In 2009, the most recent year for which data are available, government agencies throughout the country received 3.3 million reports of suspected child abuse and neglect, involving some five million children. The agencies investigated two million of these reports, leaving about a million uninvestigated, primarily because they didn't include necessary information (e.g., the name or address of the victim or offender) or because they didn't meet the state's definition of child abuse or neglect. These two million investigations found that 442,000 children were actually abused or neglected, leaving 1.6 million reports for which the investigators were unable to uncover sufficient evidence that abuse or neglect had occurred.

So, in the end, slightly more than one in five investigated reports of suspected child abuse and neglect are confirmed. This share, which is referred to as the "substantiation rate," hasn't changed much in the last 30 years.

If the allegation that former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was sexually abusing boys had been reported and investigated, the substantiation rate suggests a 22 percent chance that an investigator would have determined that abuse probably took place. Had the report been made anonymously, the likelihood of substantiation would have been much lower; had it come from head coach Joe Paterno or a Penn State administrator, the likelihood of substantiation would have been greater.

Unlike many Pennsylvania counties, Centre County, which encompasses Penn State, does not have a child advocacy center, an agency specially equipped to handle child-abuse investigations. That makes it more likely that an investigator assigned to the case would have been unable to substantiate the claims that Sandusky was sexually molesting boys. Why am I so pessimistic? Because Sandusky had already been evaluated and cleared to become a foster parent and an adoptive parent.

So what would happen if new laws forced more citizens to report suspicions of child abuse or else face stiff punishments? In all likelihood, the number of reports would increase (which is probably already happening in Pennsylvania). The staffs of the agencies that investigate those reports would also have to increase. But they would likely be using the same tools they use today to determine whether abuse occurred, and the increased reports would probably cause the substantiation rate to decline.

With more money going to investigations, meanwhile, there would be even less funding for child advocacy centers and other such services. And child-welfare agencies would turn more of their focus to investigations rather than protection from abuse.

While I would like to believe that investigations alone increase the protection of children, I know otherwise. Forty years after the first federal mandatory reporting law was enacted, there isn't a single study showing that investigations alone increase the safety of children. Investigations without services do not prevent abuse.

So what should we do with this watershed moment, which will pass all too quickly? Instead of trying to expand mandatory reporting laws, let's ask a more fundamental question: What do we need to do to increase the safety and well-being of vulnerable children?


In the past, no one has been more fanatical about wanting states to do more barging into families and taking away children than Richard Gelles – (and he wrote the column, not the business columnist with the same name). His influence probably helps explain why Philadelphia tears apart proportionately more families than any other big city.

Some of us have long known that more and more mandatory reporting only backfires, further overloading workers for agencies like DHS so they have less time to find children in real danger, even as it subjects more children to the needless trauma of a child abuse investigation But for Gelles finally to realize this is like Newt Gingrich joining an Occupy Wall Street protest.

Perhaps it was the story from Florida, about the assistant principal, a mandated reporter, who called in a report about “a possible sex crime” – two 12-year-olds kissing – that was the last straw for Gelles. Whatever the reason, if even he thinks it’s a bad idea, then it’s time to stop the make-anyone-and-everyone-report-anything-and-everything bandwagon.

There is much more about why more mandatory reporting is a bad idea on our Child Welfare Blog here: http://is.gd/klIkEC And there’s more on our blog about post-Penn State paranoia at www.nccprblog.org

Richard Wexler
Executive Director
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform
www.nccpr.org
— NCCPR

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News

Addendum: LK, in his bawdy style, links to 44 articles in the hysterical witch hunt. The rush to snatch a lot more children is underway.

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How To Train A CPS Rat

The Child Protective Industry Loves Rats

Advocates say state's sex abuse reporting law should be broadened

Rats are all of those wonderful holier than thou concerned citizens who make all of those baseless calls to the Child Abuse Hotline.

All in Kentucky, Indiana must report abuse

And since they want more kids, they obviously need more rats to report them.

Advocates renew push for bill to reform child-sex-abuse laws

Really, they don't care if the calls they get have any merit.

Amidst Penn State Scandal Senate Committee to Examine Child Abuse Law

They just want the calls so that they can get into your house.

Bills to target child abuse reporting laws

So all they have to do...

Children's advocates call for changes in Pa. laws

Is find one high profile case...

Coast child abuse reports soar

Where some famous sicko gets arrested...

Child abuse reports spike after Sandusky arrest

Team up with their friends at the newspaper or television station who are always looking for a good juicy story to satisfy the blood lust of the emotion junkies...

Creating 'culture of consciousness' seen as way to protect all children

Talk about it over and over again so that everybody believes that every child is in danger...

Calif. bills to target child abuse reporting laws

So that it always stays fresh in the simple minds of the sheep...

ChildLine, Pennsylvania's child abuse hotline, flooded with calls after Penn State scandal

And the&nbsp;hotline&nbsp;starts lighting up with baseless child abuse reports.

Child Sexual Abuse Does Happen Here

Now, please understand that I am not against protecting children from sexual abuse. I am only pointing out that these idiots are going way off the deep end with this.

Senate committee to review federal child abuse protections

So they tell everybody to report child abuse.

Senate panel schedules hearing on child sex abuse

They preach it over and over again.

Senate to examine child abuse laws in wake of Penn State scandal

Because if you tell a big enough lie enough times, the people will believe it.

Scandal focuses on reporting of abuse

And they will act upon it.

State Lawmaker Demands Mandatory Reporting Of Sex Abuse Claims

And many innocent men and women will be falsely accused.

State lawmakers propose tougher child abuse laws in wake of Penn State scandal

But it's okay, because now the kids are safe.

Sex abuse damage can last lifetime

So now that they've convinced the simpletons of the USA that every child is in danger from perverts like Jerry Sandusky.

Since Jerry Sandusky, Penn State scandal, child abuse hotlines are lighting up

They'll remind you that you should call them to report everything.

Lessons from Penn State &#8211; Revisiting NYS Child Abuse Reporting Laws

They'll say that they need to strengthen the laws, and the&nbsp;politicians&nbsp;will bite because it positions them as champions for children.

Moral Obligations Were Shirked in Sandusky Case

And our kids teachers, doctors, daycare providers, etc all have to report every little scratch to avoid criminal prosecution.

Murphy: How to prevent another Penn State

Ut oh, this kid has a boo boo. &nbsp;Report it.

Mandate reports of child abuse

This kid has a woodie... Report it.

Penn State scandal prompts California abuse bill

Don't forget to call them. &nbsp;It's the law.

Penn State scandal draws attention to child abuse

It's your moral obligation.

Pa. welfare officials see spike in abuse reports

And it works.

Pennsylvania child agency opens two cases vs Sandusky: report

So call the child abuse hotline.

Parkland Says it Takes Abuse Reporting Seriously

Call the child abuse hotline.

What if the Penn State Scandal Occurred in Florida? What are the Reporting Rules for Child Abuse in Florida? :: Whittel &amp; Melton Florida Sex Crimes Lawyers

Call the child abuse hotline.

Community Voice: We must not look the other way if we hope to break cycle of child abuse

Call the child abuse hotline.

Walker signs bills he says will help protect children

Call the child abuse hotline.

Will more laws help children?

Call the child abuse hotline.

Abuse Claims Less Likely to Be Ignored

Call the child abuse hotline.

Reporting Child Abuse, in Pennsylvania and Around the Nation

Call the child abuse hotline.

Report child abuse

Call the child abuse hotline.

Report Child Abuse. It's The Law.

Call the child abuse hotline.

Reporting child abuse mandatory in Texas

Call the child abuse hotline.

Rise in child abuse reports in Pa., N.Y., N.J. amid Penn State scandal

Call the child abuse hotline.

To protect the children, we have to look closer

Call the child abuse hotline.

The Penn State Scandal and Florida's Child Abuse Reporting Laws

Call the child abuse hotline.

OU president reminds campus of mandate to report child abuse

Call the child abuse hotline.

In Ky., unlike Pa., anyone suspecting child abuse or neglect must report to authorities

Call the child abuse hotline.

You are not someone super fabulous because you're a mandated reporter

Did you call?

Do you feel better?

Source: Legally Kidnapped

Addendum: The grand jury report on Jerry Sandusky (pdf).

Satan's Silence cover

Useless Law

November 19, 2011 permalink

A court in New York has found it unconstitutional to order a vaginal examination of a foster girl two years after she was raped. Good protection for the girl, but it is only in rare cases that lawyers intervene on behalf of a foster child. For the others, it remains business as usual.

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Child sex-abuse victim exam was unconstitutional: appeals court

NEW YORK, Nov 18 (Reuters) - A family-court order directing a teenage girl to undergo a forensic medical examination for additional proof of sexual abuse violated the girl's constitutional protection against unreasonable search, a New York appeals court has ruled.

In a unanimous opinion published Thursday, the Appellate Division, Second Department, found that a family court already had "conclusive evidence of abuse" when it ordered the victim, identified as Shernise C., to submit to a medical exam two years after the alleged assault took place.

Given the evidence, the need for her to submit to a "highly intrusive physical examination is so diminished as to render the search unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment," wrote Justice Jeffrey Cohen.

Under the Family Court Act, victims of alleged abuse must undergo a forensic medical examination. While the court left the statute intact, it found that it was unconstitutional when applied in Shernise's case, applying its own balancing test to determine when the state's need to gather evidence conflicted with the victim's right to be protected against intrusive searches.

"An innocent child should certainly have as much right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure as someone suspected of committing a crime," Cohen wrote.

"Thus while harmonizing the state's extraordinary interest in protecting a child's welfare from the potential for the invasion of a child's constitutional rights may be at times difficult, a proper balance must be struck since even the most heinous crime of child sexual abuse does not automatically provide cause to ignore the rights of the victim."

'EXTREME INVASION'

According to the court record, Shernise C. was just shy of her 14th birthday in 2008 when she gave birth to a daughter. In 2010, a DNA test established with 99.97 percent certainty that her stepfather had fathered the child.

Shernise, her sister and daughter were placed into protective custody by the Administration for Children's Services. ACS then filed petitions in family court against Shernise's stepfather and mother accusing them of abuse, according to court filings.

On August 24, 2010, the family court directed ACS to arrange for Shernise to undergo an exam to look for any visible areas of trauma. But Shernise's attorney argued that the examination was an "extreme invasion of Shernise's Fourth Amendment rights," given the "likelihood of trauma" and "absence of a compelling need for additional evidence of intercourse," the court ruling stated.

Three days later, the family court stayed enforcement of the order, and the stay remained in effect while attorneys from Legal Aid's Juvenile Rights Practice appealed the court order.

Judith Waksberg, director of the appeals unit of the Juvenile Rights Practice, said in an email statement that the ruling "reaffirms the notion that all children -- including those who are alleged to be abused or neglected -- are entitled to the protections of the Fourth Amendment."

"Even when its mandate is to protect the child, a court must always ensure that the action taken to protect the child comports with the Fourth Amendment and respects the child's bodily integrity," Waksberg said.

Sharyn Rootenberg, assistant corporation counsel in the appeals division of the New York City Law Department, said the city was "pleased that the appellate division left the statute intact, since its primary purpose is to protect children by uncovering and preserving evidence of possible abuse."

The case is In the Matter of Shernise C. et al, in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division: Second Judicial Department, index no. 2645/10.

For Legal Aid: Tamara Steckler and Claire Merkine.

For ACS: Larry Sonnenshein and Sharyn Rootenberg of the New York City Law Department; Nancy Thomson of the ACS.

Source: Thomson Reuters

Premature Seizure

November 18, 2011 permalink

A grandmother reports that her 17-year-old daughter has just had her premature baby seized by Cobourg (Northumberland) CAS from the hospital in Belleville. The baby is still hospitalized, the family is being kept away with the threat of arrest. The family needs help for court on Monday. There is an ongoing discussion in progress on Canada Court Watch. Enclosed are just the postings from grandmother Diane Jenkins, for the full discussion refer to Facebook.

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Diane Jenkins

  • Help, my 17 year old daugher had a 34 week old premmie female. C.A.S. just seized the baby, even though the baby is not released from the hospital yet. My god, they haven't even given her a F~~~ing chance.
  • this just happened between 3:30 and 5:30 pm est
  • the hospital also said that if we show up to see the baby we will be arrested
  • and it is the belleville hospital
  • no one has told us any [reasons] .. my daughter does not do drugs, or drink.. the only thing she did during her pregnancy was smoke cigarettes
  • i'm wondering if this has to do with her dad and a previous step-mom, were involved with the c.a.s years ago
  • i am going to call the police for apprehension papers, i live in colborne, the c.a.s is cobourg, which police do i call, cobourg or belleville?
  • yea, the c.a.s was in contact with the hospital social worker, we were told c.a.s worker was coming to hospital to see us. then worker phoned hospital, spoke to my daughter, said to come to cobourg.. while we were driving to cobourg they seized the baby
  • baby is in belleville, c.a.s is cobourg
  • cobourg opp did not want to help
  • i forced it
  • no current involvement, this is her first child
  • i am trying.. is there anyone who could meet us at the cobourg c.a.s office for 9am monday morning
  • i found out from the hospital that there is an apprehension letter on file
  • but cobourg has it because we live in cobourg cas juisdiction.. and i have bipolar so i am having a hard time staying calm right now
  • the c.a.s will not take my daughter and her breast milk to the hospital, even though mariann crowhurst, nurse at the hospital said c.a.s can, now this premature baby is being switched from breast milk to formula
  • the parents even have a letter saying the baby needs the breastmilk, so now they are harming this baby
  • that is correct, and the parents have a letter from the hospital saying the baby needs breast milk
  • belleville police won't do crap
  • is there anyone that can come to cobourg c.a.s 9am monday morning to help us please
  • she did everything right except smoke cigarettes, if i didn't take her to an appointment the Tean Education and Mothering Program she is in at school took her
  • and they only took her to one blood test in the same town

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Addendum: More postings from the same thread. Diane Jenkins has discovered that the father's parents, both in the Canadian military, instigated the CAS action because of their fears that the 17-year-old mother would be unable to handle the care requirements of a premature baby. Here is more from the same thread:

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From Sunday, November 20:

  • no problem with development the baby was for 6pounds 9ounces at 34 weeks
  • parents have the birth certificate, sin card, everything, mother and father's name on birth certificate
  • the mom and dad do live together, they have their own apartment 2 doors away from us, the dad's parents are both in military, mom and dad are thinking about moving back with us, and i already planned on using the mothering program against them

From Monday, November 21:

  • they refused me taping and the mom is a risk cause she 17 and baby a preemie
  • and they kicked me out of meeting
  • we got to the bottom of it.. baby's dad, his parents signed up couple months back to be foster parents.. they asked the c.a.s for the baby cause she has had preemies and don't think the baby's parents can do it right. there's the start of it\
  • nope, it's the father's parents, c.a.s spoke to my daughter today, baby will be living there and they advised her to move there to learn how to care for the baby, if she does not learn within their time frame (unknown), they put the baby in foster care.. so i know it's the father's parents who started it, not fully knowing what they have done cause they have never dealt with c.a.s before
  • can't be with us because my partner and his ex-girlfriend were involved with them before, even though after i came into their lives, the file was closed.
  • Miriam Mosaic, my partner and i have never trusted bio-dad's parents, they kicked bio-dad out at age of 16 just because he was fooling around and sprayed his mom with water hose
  • jennifer joy, we have quite a few names of good lawyers, we are working on going through them and picking one
  • i have advised my daughter to do what she has to in order to be with her baby, and that we will fight
  • they are part of the system, they are both in the military
  • actually yes, the female works in the kitchen, and the male used to be active duty but now travels on the planes that carry important people, e.g. when new prince and princess came to toronto
  • i'm wondering, would it do any good, or backfire, to call belleville c.a.s and tell them the baby is in their hospital and that cobourg is involved
  • answer: No
  • that's what i thought
  • Miriam Mosaic, i did ask them why child at risk, he got quite rude, said are you not listening to the conversation, proceeded to explain age and premature, then i got kicked out of the office for questioning, they said it was not helping my daughter's case, so i said you do not have to kick me out, i will leave willingly

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Diane Jenkins

Addendum: As the baby reached age five days, mother Trinity came online in another thread. The baby will spend at least her first two weeks with the paternal grandparents. The mother is limited to two hours a day.

This is not the first time fixcas has encountered this situation. Placing the baby of a teen mom with grandma often makes a lot of sense. It has happened many times even without CAS intervention. But why the restrictions on mom? She could be learning baby care from grandma, but learns little while CAS engenders unnecessary family animosity.

Conway Atones

November 18, 2011 permalink

Constable Ted Conway has returned the document seized at the Bracebridge rally on November 10. Chad Wells confirmed the return by speaking to the reporter.

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Chad Wells I and 4 other members from Canada Court Watch attended the Bracebridge Ontario court house on Thursday November 17 2011. I noticed that Officer Ted Conway was on duty at the courthouse. I approached Mr. Conway to speak with him. Before I could even say hello to Mr. Conway he told me that he had returned my document to Neil Etienne, a local newspaper reporter. The document Mr. Conway was referring to was “seized” by Mr. Conway on November 10th 2011 from a protest at the Bracebridge courthouse. I’m happy that Officer Conway decided to do the right thing and return my property.

This is yet another example to show that when some of the misuse of power by police officers is brought the attention of the public, some police officers will try to correct the mistakes they have made. Members from Canada Court Watch have offered to meet with senior officers from the Muskoka OPP to discuss some of the problems we’ve had in the past with some of their officers at the public demonstrations in the Muskoka area.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Cemetery for Dreams

November 18, 2011 permalink

Here is a photo of a one-woman rally outside the Children's Aid Society of Hamilton, posted to Facebook on November 17 by Kristen Villebrun. And from the USA:

November 17, 2011 Protest 1200 Congress St Houston

Today we held a Protest in Harris County. We were in front of the Juvenile Justice Center at 1200 Congress St Houston TX. Everyone that attended did a amazing job. We only had a small amount of protesters but we all focused on handing out information and talking to everyone we could about the corruption of the system. Towards the end we had total strangers join us and ask for us to make sure they Knew when the next protest was. Small groups CAN make an impact.

Source: Facebook

The Houston group was well-prepared with good signs. Pictures: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7].

Nicholson Fired

November 17, 2011 permalink

The ongoing strike at Kawartha-Haliburton children's aid has led to the suspension of its executive director Hugh Nicholson. His replacement is Suzanne Geoffrion, former executive director of the Lanark children's aid society. The staff has been picketing since October 17.

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Hugh Nicholson dropped as executive director of strikebound children's aid society

Hugh Nicholson
Hugh Nicholson was dropped Wednesday night as executive director of the Kawartha-Haliburton Children's Aid Society as a month-long strike by frontline workers at the agency continues. He had been scheduled to retire Dec. 31.
CLIFFORD SKARSTEDT Examiner file photo

The Kawartha-Haliburton Children's Aid Society has dumped Hugh Nicholson as the agency's executive director in the midst of a bitter strike by 130 workers including frontline workers and accountants.

The agency's directors decided during Wednesday night's board meeting to put Nicholson on administrative leave until Dec. 31 — the date of his planned retirement.

Board chairman Tim McLaren said in light of the challenges of the strike, which started Oct. 17, the agency and community would be best served with new leadership although he wouldn't elaborate why.

The interim leader is Suzanne Geoffrion who has 30 years experience in the child protection sector, most recently serving as executive director of the Lanark Children's Aid Society.

A new permanent executive director is expected to be hired in the new year.

Nicholson, 64, has served as the local executive director since 2003 and said Wednesday's decision was a surprise.

"It was in some respects a difference of opinion — a difference of priorities about how to proceed and handle the strike," Nicholson told The Examiner.

He said he was planning to retire in December anyways, so he said it may not be such a bad thing.

"If it means staff get back to work and there are high quality of services for children, then I'm all for it," Nicholson said.

Jennifer Smith, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 334, said she hadn't heard the news of Nicholson's departure until contacted by The Examiner on Wednesday night.

"Wow, let's get back to the table and back to the business that we do best and that's not picketing," Smith said. "I can tell you we all miss our jobs."

Smith said the management style of senior directors, including Nicholson, was "oppressive."

"It created significant barriers to the quality of work we do and the inter-relations of the agency," she said. "This needs to change. I hope the new director can create a change in this area."

Striking workers have argued for better working conditions, including reduced caseloads and better hours.

Meanwhile, Nicholson's job officially ended Wednesday although he said he has some personal belongings, including a painting created by his wife and some personal photos, that he still must pick up from the Chemong Rd. office.

Nicholson said he was glad to work with the management staff members who have recently been working "around the clock" since the strike.

"They're a great group of people to work with," he said.

He said he plans to take life easy and enjoy time with his family and friends — something he said he hasn't been able to do with the pressure of the strike.

Source: Peterborough Examiner

Rape Cover-Up

November 16, 2011 permalink

Vernon Beck If anyone would like to attend Court with me at the Eglinton Ave E, in Toronto to witness criminal case where a former foster parent for the CAS impregnated a young girl in his care please let me know. The hearing is for this Friday at 9:30 am. DNA evidence has already confirmed the former CAS foster home parent the father of the child who is now grown up. CAS is trying to keep this quiet and have tried to keep this case secret for many years.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

St Catharines Rally

November 16, 2011 permalink

girl at St Catharines Ontario rally
cutest critic of the year

Pat Niagara St. Catharines Rally for CAS Oversight & Accountability

On Nov 16th 2011 Advocates from around Ontario once again took Aim at the C.A.S. this time in St. Catharines, ON wanting oversight within the Children's Aid Society. Advocates from Canada Court Watch, Unregistered CAS/FACS workers unlawfully working in Ontario, Protecting Canadian Children all teamed on the corners of Scott Street and Lake Street to bring awareness to the people of St. Catharines asking for oversight of the "MUSH SECTOR" and "The Unlawful Practice of Social Work by Children's Aid Workers in Ontario. We also collected signatures on 3 separate petitions. We also talked to a number of people telling them how to put the school forms in place to keep the Children's Aid away from there kids while at school. We also got a number of honks by cars. And had the police even stop by about the noise from the megaphone once again.

VIDEO to FOLLOW.

Photos: [1], [assisting the cops], [3], [internet], [girl not for sale], [boy not for sale], [7], [guilty], [sidewalk art] and video: YouTube and local copy (mp4).

Source: Facebook

Educating Sociopaths

November 16, 2011 permalink

Jules Greyeyes, a Manitoba advocate who has appeared in these pages several times before, notes that many of the people responsible for Manitoba's child welfare system are graduates of the University of Manitoba. The letter below is in advance of his scheduled November 22 meeting with Mr Harvey Frankel and the faculty to discuss the university's role in the failure of child welfare.

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Jules Greyeyes
Northend Advocacy Group (NAG)
689 Magnus Ave
Winnipeg, R2W 2E1  

November 3, 2011  

David T. Barnard - President and Vice-Chancellor
202 Administration Building, University of Manitoba,
Winnipeg MB R3T 2N2
Office: 204-474-9345 Fax: 204-275-7925  

Re: Complaint regarding your employees Harvey Fenkel, Wendy Whitecloud, and Michael Hart  

Dear Mr. Barnard,  

Nice to see someone is taking responsibility for actions related to contributing to the residential schools, although, this should have come a long time ago. What was the reason for you doing this well after the survivors reached a settlement?  

Nevertheless, I again want to make you aware of the actions of your social workers who’ve graduated and now sit at the helms of CFS here in Manitoba. Why are Social Workers coming out of your institution, who then go on to work for the child welfare system, are turning in to sociopaths with a sense of entitlement! You should now be addressing the “New Residential School System”, and how it has evolved. The foster home!  

I wish to set a meeting with you to discuss what exactly your institution will be saying at the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry because the U of M had no direct dealings with Phoenix or the family, but I did. I also want to discuss some of the important emails I have been sending to your social work faculty raising issues related to the people working for your institution and those who have graduated, going on to work in Manitoba’s child welfare system.  

Instead of getting any real answers from anyone in the child welfare system, the CFS Act is what everyone quotes. We need to take family court out of CFS when it’s CFS vs. Parents. 300 children dead in the last 7 years Mr.Barnard, and many of these children died as a result of actions in which CFS workers alone determine what constitutes the “best interests of the child” until trial. The U of M is still contributing to assimilation of aboriginal children through the child welfare system.  

In closing, I hope that some good will come out of this but I have a petition with over 500 signatures on it asking for the removal of the board of the Southern Authority and many of the people working there. I have also lodged a formal complaint with the AMC citing the bylaws of the Southern Authority which the board and workers continuously breach.

Thank you!

Truly,

Jules Greyeyes

Source: email from Jules Greyeyes

Addendum: Jules Greyeyes has lost his partner.

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ANGELA (ANGIE) MARIE MCKAY (published on December 08, 2011)

Angela (Angie) Marie McKay

ANGELA (ANGIE) MARIE MCKAY May 5, 1968 - December 4, 2011 It comes with great sadness the family of Angela Marie McKay announces her passing on December 4, 2011. Angela will be sadly missed by her common-law husband Jules Greyeyes, who fought alongside her for nine years in her battle against COPD (lung disease); also left behind are her four wonderful children: Jules and Justin Greyeyes, and Brian and Melanie McKay. She will be missed by brothers Randy (Shannon), Ralph (Vivian), Robert (Rowana) and many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family and friends. Angela was predeceased by her father Robert (Bob) McKay, brother Brian McKay, sister Angel, cousin Sheldon McKay, and nephew David Keno. She will be remembered most for her smile which lit up any room, despite the pain of this disease. Angela was strong through thick and thin and coped with the physical ailments of COPD with laughter, the emotional toll will now be forever known. Mother Elsie Moar and dad Earl Moar would like to thank all those who helped in this time of need! Wake Services Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. Funeral Service Friday, December 9, 2011 11:00 a.m. at Kateri Tekakwitha Aboriginal Catholic Parish at 548 Home Street, Winnipeg, with burial at Brookside to follow.

Source: Passages MB

Canada Watches Advocate

November 16, 2011 permalink

Advocate for Canadian aboriginal children Cindy Blackstock has uncovered spying on her by the Aboriginal Affairs department. They sent several employees to write reports on meetings where she spoke, and monitored her Facebook page. Her suspicions were aroused when she had a personal guard assigned to her to prevent her from participating in a departmental meeting with Ontario chiefs.

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Cindy Blackstock
Since 2007, federal officials have attended 75 to 100 meetings at which Cindy Blackstock spoke, then reported back to their bosses.
Pawel Dwulit/Toronto Star file photo

Source: Toronto Star


Federal Aboriginal Affairs department spying on advocate for First Nations children

The federal Aboriginal Affairs department has been spying on a high-profile campaigner for First Nations children, documents show.

The department has amassed a large file on Cindy Blackstock, who heads the First Nations Child and Family Caring society.

The file contains emails and notes about Blackstock’s personal information and critical briefings on her activities.

“They have found it necessary to not only put one employee onto tailing, but if you look at the records there are numerous employees on the government payroll who are being asked to comment on what I am doing or to violate my privacy by going on my personal Facebook pages,” said Blackstock.

Blackstock has for years been pushing for equity for First Nations children caught up in the welfare system.

In 2007, her organization filed a human rights complaint against the federal government claiming discrimination against First Nation children.

She says the lawsuit changed her relationship with the department. Soon after, Blackstock said she was barred from a departmental meeting she had attended with Ontario chiefs.

“They barred me from the room,” said Blackstock. “And had a security guard guard me during the time I was there.”

The incident led Blackstock to file an Access to Information request about herself, to see what information the department had on her.

It took a year and a half for her to receive the file and, to her surprise, they watched her every move.

“Not only had they been on my personal Facebook page, but they had a government employee go to their home at night and log in as an individual, not as the government of Canada…and go onto my Facebook page and take a snapshot of it and then have that in a government of Canada log,” she said.

Aboriginal Affairs staffers also monitored Blackstock as she made presentations about the state of First Nations child welfare across the country.

The file contains briefing notes with critical details of the topic and her speeches.

APTN National News contacted the department.

The department refused to comment on the Blackstock file and instead issued a statement saying Aboriginal Affairs “routinely monitors and analyses the public environment as it relates to the department’s policies programs, services and initiatives…social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are public forums, accessible to all.”

Source: Aboriginal Peoples Television Network

Cindy Blackstock urges more funding for First Nations services, including children's services, even though that funding is the root cause of most of the separation of Indian children from their parents.

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Rights advocate speaks out against funding disparity

First Nations youth in Saskatchewan and across the country are being shortchanged, says a prominent child welfare advocate.

Chronic underfunding for education, housing and infrastructure has only served to push more children on reserve into the hands of child welfare services, which also suffer from a systemic funding shortfall, says children's rights advocate Cindy Blackstock.

This disparity in funding for child and family services between First Nations and non-aboriginals is the message Blackstock will bring when she visits Saskatoon on Tuesday.

Blackstock, who has a PhD in social work, says in her earlier years as a child protection worker, she "saw First Nations child after First Nations child removed from their parents, and often for reasons that were not in their control.

"We should not hold them accountable for things they cannot change."

Blackstock is currently the director of the Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, which launched a human rights complaint against the federal government in 2007 due to the well documented disparity in funding for child-welfare services between First Nations and non-aboriginal youth.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission sent the case to tribunal the following year, but last year it was rejected by the tribunal on the grounds you can't compare service quality between the federal government, which funds child welfare on-reserve, and the provinces, which run child welfare services off-reserve.

Blackstock is campaigning to appeal this decision.

In a country as wealthy as Canada, there is no reason First Nations children should not be able to receive the same quality of social services as other Canadians, let alone be without running water or adequate housing, she says.

"Should any Canadian go without proper water or sanitation in a country that can afford to buy new fighter jets?"

The recent scandal around the Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario, which declared a state of emergency more than three weeks ago due to an extreme housing shortage and this week received emergency aid from Ottawa and the Red Cross, just further demonstrates the failure of the federal government to care for First Nations people, says Blackstock.

"I've personally been to Attawapiskat. I remember walking into this home, and it was an emergency housing unit provided by the department of Indian affairs. I have a one-car garage at home in this little brownstone that I live in in Ottawa, and it was even smaller than that," she said.

"There was only about five feet of clearance between this wood stove and any of the walls, and she was eight months pregnant. She was worried about what she was going to do when this baby learns to crawl. How do you keep it away from the wood stove?"

Canada subsidizes aid to countries in Africa where people live in similar conditions, she says.

Blackstock speaks at the Neatby-Timlin Theatre in the University of Saskatchewan at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. For more information on her work, visit fnwitness.ca.

Source: Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Addendum: In a CBC interview Cindy Blackstock speaks like a social worker, because she is a former social worker. But she has found the one true means of really helping children: doing so without government funding. Audio of Cindy Blackstock (mp3).

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In the second half of the show, Don talks with Cindy Blackstock, the head of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and a member of Gitksan First Nation. She filed suit against the government before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in 2007, charging that First Nations children were discriminated against by inequitable child welfare services on reserves.

Cindy has been surveilled by Canada's own government. Her crime? Caring for First Nations children.

It's made her unpopular with government, but a crusader amongst First Nations child advocates hoping to close the gap between money for Aboriginal children and non-Aboriginal.

Source: CBC, Trailbreakers, January 12, 2012

Addendum: A year and a half later, the privacy commissioner agrees that two government departments gathered personal information from Blackstock's Facebook page.

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Aboriginal Affairs, Justice Canada gathered personal information on First Nations child advocate: privacy watchdog

Aboriginal Affairs, Justice Canada gathered personal information on First Nations child advocate: privacy watchdog

The federal Aboriginal Affairs department and Justice Canada gathered personal information about a First Nations children’s advocate who launched a human rights complaint against Ottawa, the privacy watchdog has found.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner found that officials in both departments began collecting personal information about Cindy Blackstock, the executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, in February 2010.

“(The two departments) have repeatedly accessed, viewed, read, copied and recorded personal information from (Blackstock’s) personal Facebook page,” said the report.

The report said the gathered information was “unrelated to to their ordinary operating activities.”

Blackstock filed her complaint last March after discovering, through an Access to Information request, that federal officials had accessed her personal Facebook page. Aboriginal Affairs also launched its own internal probe, but found its officials had not breached her privacy.

The privacy investigation found that officials took “multiple screen shots” of Blackstock’s Facebook page along with excerpts. There was no evidence, however, that any federal officials tried to “friend” Blackstock to obtain information.

In its report, the privacy watchdog told both departments to destroy any personal information “to the extent permitted by law” about Blackstock and any other individual officials gathered in the course of their snooping.

It also recommended that the departments “cease and desist from accessing and viewing personal information posted to (Blackstock’s) personal Facebook page.”

The report also recommended the departments create internal policies and guidelines governing the collection of personal information on social media sites by federal officials.

The report said both departments “have accepted our recommendations in full.”

Blackstock said she hoped the federal government would follow through with the recommendations.

“It is both a relief and also shock,” said Blackstock. “In some ways you are a naive person in this country, you kind of hope that what you are seeing isn’t true and it clearly is true.”

Blackstock, along with the Assembly of First Nations, launched a human rights complaint against Ottawa over alleged underfunding of child welfare services on First Nations reserve. The human rights complaint was amended to include allegations that the federal government retaliated against Blackstock over the complaint by spying on her activities.

The complaint is currently before the Human Rights Tribunal. It recently emerged that Aboriginal Affairs failed to disclose 50,000 documents related to the case during the discovery process.

The federal watchdog also investigated two other complaints leveled by Blackstock, but found no other privacy breaches.

Blackstock alleged that Aboriginal Affairs and Justice Canada officials were also monitoring her speaking engagements and sharing detailed reports within the departments.

The watchdog found that the departments “were collecting and sharing that information in direct relation to the operating programs or activities of (Aboriginal Affairs) and in relations to ongoing litigation.”

Blackstock also alleged that Aboriginal Affairs officials accessed her Indian status registry which contains information about her family.

The report said that investigators with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner could find no evidence Aboriginal Affairs officials accessed her Indian status file because the department keeps no record of people who access the registry. Both departments also denied accessing the file in relation to the ongoing litigation before the Human Rights Tribunal.

Blackstock discovered that her Indian status registry had been accessed on Nov. 4, 2010 and Nov. 17, 2011.

“In the absence of an audit trail or log documenting instances of access to the complainant’s (status record) it was impossible to determine whether or not that record had been used or accessed inappropriately,” said the report. “Nor did we find evidence to support the allegation that the complainant’s records were being used as part of a larger effort to uncover ulterior motives that the Caring Society is deemed to have had when it filed a human rights complaint against the government of Canada.”

The report recommended that Aboriginal Affairs create audit logs to track when officials access the Indian status registry.

The department accepted the recommendation.

Source: Aboriginal Peoples Television Network

spying on Facebook

Suppressing Dissent

November 16, 2011 permalink

Authorities in Uzbekistan know how to control an opponent: take her child. They must have learned from Canada.

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Uzbekistan: Authorities Threaten To Take Foster Child of Human Rights Activist

A human rights leader in Uzbekistan says she is suffering backlash for her work.

Police have come to the home of Elena Urlayeva of the Human Rights Alliance in Tashkent and attempted to remove her 7-year-old foster child, Muhammad, the independent website uznews.net reported..

The aim of the visit was quite simple: he [the policeman] said he had been asked to take Muhammad Mashurov away to a children’s home. But he didn’t show me any proof that he had the right to take a child away from their family. It never occurred to me that a small child could be made a victim of such an unlawful and arbitrary procedure.

The boy is the nephew of Urlayeva's partner, Mansur Mashurov.

In recent months, Urlayeva has been monitoring the use of forced child labor in the cotton fields and has taken on other injustices in this Central Asian dictatorship, such as the persecution of journalists.

Source: EurasiaNet

Cut Spending!

November 15, 2011 permalink

As part of a political compromise to keep America solvent the US congress has appointed a super-committee to reduce the country's annual deficit. Leonard Henderson of the American Family Rights Association has created a poster with one suggestion for painlessly reducing spending.

Cop vs CAS

November 15, 2011 permalink

Attila Vinczer reports on a reason those burly bullies who stand by while social workers are snatching your kids should not be treated as enemies. Cops see the harm done by CAS every day, and get pretty disgusted by it. Even more so when it happens to police themselves.

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Attila Vinczer I spoke with a York Region Police officer who attended to my home resulting from young men trampling though my back yard allegedly from one of 25 halfway houses in Newmarket. CAS funds places like Blue Hill and CAS wards end up in these halfway houses. It has been an ongoing problem for years. This very well informed down to earth officer expressed his knowledge of the harm and problems CAS agencies cause children and families. This officer also told me how even their own get trapped by the system of false DV allegations and they are subject to the same vexatious Restraining Orders / court action that has his colleagues restricted with work and mobility in the community the same as everyone else.

False DV and CAS abuse of power sees no bounds and excludes no one. The officer further explained that many of the youth in the halfway houses are destroyed for life! I am pleased to hear that even active cops are willing to speak about the harm by CAS and the courts against normal decent Canadian Citizens. This nonsense must stop now. The Judicial System, including cops, are meant to uphold the law and not abuse it!

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Youth Leaving Care Hearings

November 15, 2011 permalink

Youth Leaving Care Hearings

Ontario's child advocate Irwin Elman invites youth in care, or formerly in care, to participate in hearings. The first two sessions will take place in the Ontario legislature on November 18 and 25 (dates recently amended). Mr Elman extends a video invitation on Irwin's rant (mp4). Youth interested in contributing should start with the Youth Leaving Care Hearings home page. Find out how to participate on the submissions page. For young people fearful of children's aid and social workers, you should know that Mr Elman is not part of children's aid. He is responsible only to the legislature, so no one in the children's aid system can direct his activities.

Addendum: Fixcas has not examined the results of the hearings, but here is a discouraging report from blogger mamajustice and one from Vern Beck suggesting more balance.

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What’s happening at Queen’s Park

As many of us know, beginning last week and continuing tomorrow at Queen’s Park, will be the hearings of the youths that are aging out of care in the child protection system in Ontario. They will have the opportunity to tell of their experiences in care, raise any concerns about what the future holds for them and what changes they feel should be made.

Strangely, even with all of the evidence their has been in recent years, it appears that many of the stories being told are ones of satisfaction with the services they were provided and their experiences. This seems odd!

Like myself, many are asking themselves, where did they find these kids to tell these stories? As a journalist that has had the opportunity to communicate with many current crown wards and former crown wards, the stories I have heard (at least 95% of them) have been stories of sheer horror and failure on the part of our government and child protection agencies in this province. Abuse in all it’s forms, sexual, physical, emotional and mental.

One must ask themselves what the agenda is currently with our government to address these issues, there is a progressive narrative of sorts going on here that is clearly contradicting the facts as we know them.

Source: mamajustice blog


Vernon Beck I attended and gave testimony at the child leaving care hearings at Queens Park today. There was compelling testimony from kids in carer and foster parents telling their stories of abuse by the system. Overall it was a good day and well put together by those advocating for change.

Source: Canada Court Watch

Laura Reaches Durban

November 14, 2011 permalink

South Africa flag

Laura Dekker has arrived in Durban South Africa. She crossed the entire Indian Ocean in one 49-day lap of 6000 nautical miles. There was a partial blackout on her blog during the crossing. All location and destination information was suppressed to avoid tipping off pirates. Even weather reports could disclose her location, so blog postings were delayed for up to five days. The original plan to go through the Red Sea and the Mediterranean was scrapped in favor of rounding the Cape of Good Hope.

When Laura arrived at Durban the customs officer would not believe she came all the way from Darwin. She had to show him her weblog to convince him. Back on dry land, she is looking forward to warm showers and a more varied diet.

Laura left the Cape Verde islands on December 3, 2010. Getting back there will complete her round-the-world trip.

Our last report on Laura was in August. Enclosed is a news report, and a photo of Laura's on-board kitchen. It would get social workers to grab children for clutter.

Source: Laura Dekker blog (so far only available in Dutch)

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Teen sailor Laura Dekker safely crosses Indian Ocean

Laura Dekker with Guppy

Dutch sailor Laura Dekker, 16, has successfully crossed the Indian Ocean and has made port in Durban, South Africa, her agent announced Monday.

Dekker, whose is on a controversial quest to become the youngest person to sail around the world, had kept her Indian Ocean route a secret because of concerns about piracy. She has been sailing aboard a 38-foot sailboat named Guppy.

Lyall Mercer, Dekker's agent, stated in a news release that the sailor endured periods of harrowing seas during her crossing from Australia to South Africa. "Every sailor knows the Indian Ocean is a dangerous place, but Laura did it in style and this is a credit to her professionalism and ability," Mercer said.

Southern California's Abby Sunderland was rescued from the Indian Ocean in June of 2010 during attempt to become the youngest to solo-circumnavigate the planet in a sailboat.

Australia's Jessica Watson, who completed a non-stop circumnavigation in May of 2010, just days before turning 17, is unofficially the youngest. ("Youngest" records are no longer kept by governing agencies.)

Dekker, who turned 16 during her layover in Darwin, Australia, has now crossed the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. She must still round the Cape of Good Hope and sail to Gibraltar, up the west coast of Africa, to complete her odyssey.

Source: Pete Thomas


Guppy's kitchen
Laura Dekker's kitchen on Guppy

Addendum: On November 25, 2011 ABC's 20/20 did a segment on teenaged sailors Around the World at 16 (mp4).

Devilish, Lacking, Amateurish, Brutish, Dastardly

November 14, 2011 permalink

The Musa family lost all their children to Haringey social services in London England. We have real names because a paper in their country of origin, Nigeria, printed the whole story. The mother is quoted at length. She managed to apply all the headlined epithets to Haringey in just one sentence.

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UK Police seize day old Nigerian baby, five siblings

What will you do if you have just been delivered of a baby and the police storm the hospital hours thereafter and seize the baby?

Cry? Kick? Resist? Action predictable. This is exactly what Mrs. Gloria Musa, a native of Umuahia, Abia State, and married to Mr. Musa from Garkida, Adamawa State but lives in Haringey, United Kingdom (UK) did after she had just been delivered of a baby and the police invaded Norwich Park Hospital and took away the baby. Three months earlier, the same police, allegedly acting at the behest of the Haringey social service, had equally seized five children of the Musas on the grounds that the mother was a sex worker.

Baby Musa
Baby Musa...allegedly in custody

The newly born baby’s seizure in hospital took place on June 12, 2010 while its other five siblings were taken into custody on April 8, 2010. But more than one year after, the six seized children are said to remain in the custody of the Haringey social service while every effort to get them to rejoin their parents has reportedly failed. The social service, according to reports, secretly gets interim care order (ICO) on monthly basis from the court to validate its action because the evidence they peddle against the Musas is untenable. The action is generating ripples both in Nigeria where the couple hails from and the UK. Although Sunday Vanguard could not ascertain the intervention of the Nigerian High Commission in the UK on the matter, a letter from an Advocate and Public Interest Intervener on behalf of the embattled mother of the seized kids asked the Haringey social service to forward documents in the Musa family case to the High Commission.

In Nigeria, the House of Representatives has taken up the matter, urging the Federal Government to persuade her British counterpart to ensure that the Musas are reunited with their kids until evidence show any wrongdoing. The House claimed paternity tests conducted on the children showed they belonged to the Musa couple.

The sponsor of the motion that led to the resolution, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, from Ikorodu Federal Constituency and chairman of the House Diaspora Committee, among 27 other lawmakers, described what the Musas are going through as the height of inhumanity. Narrating what she went through when nine policemen invaded the hospital in June 2010, to seize the baby, Mrs. Musa said it was “bizarre, unthinkable and worrisome”.

Musa family
Before the Musa kids were ‘held’

According to her, “this atrocity was meted out to me and my new born baby, Queen Elizabeth, at Norwich Park Hospital at about 3 a.m. on June 12, 2010”. She went on: “Regrettable, painful and inhuman as it were, the action of the police did not only cause pandemonium, discomfort, unnecessary tension, and embarrassment to the patients and staff of the hospital, it also revealed a Haringey that is devilish in character and lacking in human feeling, amateurish in style, brutish in operation, and dastardly in her acts of executing a hidden agenda that runs counter to westernized forms of civility in police modus operandi. It is unbelievable that a country like the U.K,highly respected as an icon of democracy with commendable human right records, could stoop so low to authorise the police to perpetrate acts that are antithetical and inimical to the cause she goes all out to protect.

“My joy of safe delivery was cut short; as i was physically manhandled, emotionally battered, and psychologically traumatised by the ill-treatment from the British police .While recuperating from the pains of labour, I was awakened by the unwelcomed guests whom I would never forget in a hurry. Nine hefty looking police personnel, who by the suicidal nature of their mission(to take away my new born baby, as they told me in unmistakeable terms) would be best described as “kill joy”, Naturally, I, like every other woman, would prefer being killed to letting it (baby) go easily, hence, I held on and closely to it too. Unperturbed that the baby could be dangerously hurt, considering its age–less than few hours old- and capitalising on the weakness, unstable, and feeble state of mine who is left with little or no strength, after much exertion of energy during labour, the devil-may-care personnel of the Haringey police station applied every force at their disposal, unleashing terror on my helpless self and bruised me all over until they over powered me and took my baby.

“My request for their reasons and the authority empowering them to dispossess me of my new born baby was denied, rebuffed, and rejected with brazen arrogance in these words, `We did not need to show you or give you either’. The hospital staff insisted that the baby should not leave the hospital premises. To ensure a fulfilled mission and that i was completely debilitated and knocked down, the police removed the child from where i could sight it, and placed it in the intensive care unit downstairs all alone. This is sheer wickedness.

“My family has done practically nothing to deserve this painful and unwarranted suppression. Barely three months earlier (08-04-2010), five of my children were, without cogent reasons, abducted by eight policemen from Haringey; and while the case for their release was still being battled, nine policemen, again, in an unprovoked attack, swooped on me and my new born baby in the hospital, seizing the baby, thereby denying it of its right to natural love, breastfeeding and care by its biological parents. This is injustice of the highest order.

“As deprived , wounded, and bleeding as my family is, I request a thorough investigation of this issue by the British police ,with a view to ameliorating the situation and returning my children to me and in good health too. I state in unmistakeable and categorical terms that I and my husband are capable, loving, caring, and very competent to adequately cater and provide for our children without any external assistance or recourse to public funds. We need them returned to us as nobody can take care of them better than us.”

In a position insinuating that the Haringey social service was avoiding being confronted in the family court, on the seizure of the children, because it has no concrete evidence of its claim of the mother being a sex worker, one Maurice Kirk cited at least one instance when the social service personnel secretly obtained an interim care order (ICO) from the court on the issue. The said instance, according to Kirk, was on September 5, 2010 when, whereas himself (Kirk) and the Musas were in the court premises, the Haringey council procured the ICO in their absence. Kirk stated: “On August 30 (2010), Mrs. Justice Hogg had specifically ordered that the case be heard on September 5 (2010) with the sole intention for the parents to bring further evidence and for the (Haringey) council to produce the documents upon which they relied.

I arrived the court (on Sept. 5) and spent the first hour trying to establish where the case was being heard as no one knew. Separate from me and unknown to me, the totally distraught parents were doing the same from 9.30 onwards.

“I eventually demanded a judge and a hearing be convened or there was going to be ‘trouble’. Staff clearly indicated something unusual was going on.

“At 4p.m., District Judge Berry informed the three of us that the case was already over!

It transpired that the case had taken place in the very same building without any of us being told and obtaining, for the fourth time, a further one month detention order (IC0) by the simple use of a telephone call from the council to the court”.

After the alleged court abuse, Kirk stated that they went to Hornsey police station, near Haringey council, where the police had first held the children but the police refused to disclose their custody records or copy interview tapes needed for the hearing in the Holborn family courts.

The Musas, according to him, were being blackmailed to leave the UK without their kids.

Kirk also said he and the “frustrated parents went to the Nigerian High Commission in the UK on September 6, 2010, to establish what progress, if any, had happened since the parents had first contacted them in June 2010.

“We were assured by the Nigerian High Commission representative that it was fully aware of the seriousness of the separation of young children from their parents and ‘all that could be done was being done’. We obtained no documentation, however, to support their apparent answer that the council was ignoring the commission’s concerns”, he added.

“On September 7 (2010) we, three, decided to visit the Haringey council to examine the children’s medical records upon which the council relied for the ‘snatch’ being lawful.

The parents were not just refused, they were denied any information as to whether the children were even still alive!”

`Prisoners in hell’

Kirk is not the only person in the UK protesting the seizure of the Musa children. Peter Bellett, in a letter dated October 28, 2011, to the Nigerian High Commissioner in the UK, implored the High Commissioner to “use the powers of your good office and do everything that needs to be done including taking this matter to the highest government level to ensure that this family are reunited and sent back to their homeland without delay”.

Bellett added: “The Musas do not want to remain in the UK and have refused the offer from Haringey Council of an application for British passports. They cannot return to Nigeria without their children; so they are virtually prisoners in a hell created by forces beyond their control”.

In the House of Representatives resolution on the Musas, entitled, “Saving Mrs. Gloria Musa and her six children from Haringey British Police”, and dated October 25, 2011, it noted: “Sometime in June last year, the Haringey British Police stormed the peaceful home of the Musas and forcefully took custody of their five growing children to an undisclosed destination, without any concrete evidence against them”.

The House said it was aware that series of paternity tests have been conducted and evidence has been brought forward that confirms the paternity of all six children in favour of Mr. and Mrs. Musa.

It expressed worry that this “Nigerian family has been subjected to the worst psychological crisis, and are currently in a state of mental trauma from the way their case has been handled by the British Police and since June 2010 till date, Mr. and Mrs. Musa have had no contact with their children”.

The House urged the Nigerian government to persuade the British government to try the Musas in a court of competent jurisdiction if need be, and ensure that justice is done.

It also called on the British government to ensure that the Musas are re-united with their kids until evidence shows any wrong doing on the part of the couple.

Source: Vanguard

Legal Junkies

November 13, 2011 permalink

Canada's children are becoming drug junkies. Not by illegal pushers, but by legal prescription drugs. Anti-psychotic drug use, already high before, more than doubled in the period 2005 - 2009. The current issue of Paediatrics and Child Health drew press attention to the problem.

The primary condition being treated is called ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Translated, that means the kid will not sit still in school, what parents call Normal Kid Syndrome. Psychotropic drugs are prescribed not to benefit the child, but the teachers or foster or group home staff who have to cope with the child's behavior. Once on the drugs, the child turns into a listless zombie, easily controlled by staff.

The article ends with futile advice: "Before agreeing to put their child on an antipsychotic, experts say parents should ask the doctor what specific symptoms the drug is targeting, and whether there are other options, including parent management training or parent-child interaction therapy for younger children." Foster kids don't have any "parents" who can discuss anything with a doctor. And once a doctor has written a prescription, it is mandatory. Parents who fail to drug their children will soon be getting a visit from a smiling social worker wielding the club of medical neglect. Either the child takes the drug, or he will disappear into the foster care system.

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Number of Canadian kids offered antipsychotics more than doubles

drugs
Various prescription medications are pictured in a file photo. The increase in prescriptions for children as young as six is raising concerns that the drugs are being overused.
Photograph by: Photos.com, canada.com

So many Canadian children are taking the drugs known as atypical antipsychotics that doctors are being asked to watch for major complications — including dramatic weight gain, tremors, and abnormal face and jaw movements.

Once reserved for schizophrenia and mania in adults, one antipsychotic alone, risperidone, was recommended by Canadian-office-based doctors for children 17 years old and younger a total of 340,670 times in 2010 — a near-doubling since 2006 — according to data provided to Postmedia News from prescription-drug tracking firm IMS Brogan.

Another antipsychotic — quetiapine — was recommended to Canadian children 160,700 times.

The increase in prescriptions for children as young as six is raising concerns that the drugs are being overused. Some experts say too little is known about the effects on a child's cognitive, social and physical development, and that the side effects may set children up for serious health problems later in life.

Overall, from 2005 to 2009, antipsychotic drug recommendations for children and youth in Canada increased 114 per cent, according to new guidelines published in this month's issue of the journal Paediatrics & Child Health on the use of second-generation atypical antipsychotics in children and youth.

The drugs — which have not been approved in Canada for use in children under 18 — are being used for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorders, irritability related to autism, mood disorders, physical or verbal aggression and other behavioural problems.

Doctors say that for many desperate families, the drugs are often the only option because of a dismal lack of access to non-drug therapy for children in crisis.

But the drugs also come with some "common and unfortunate" consequences, Canadian researchers say — including a substantial increase in fat mass and waist circumference. Doctors say the drugs can make children so ravenous that some parents have had to lock the fridge.

Researchers have shown that after a median of 10 1/2 weeks of treatment with olanzapine, children gain an average of 8.5 kilograms; their waist circumference increases an average of 8.5 centimetres. The pills can also cause increases in blood pressure, high cholesterol, triglycerides (a type of blood fat) and glucose abnormalities, with some drugs being bigger offenders than others.

"Antipsychotics cause enormous weight gains in children" with all the attendant risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and, possibly, a shortened life expectancy, said Dr. Allen Frances, professor emeritus at Duke University School of Medicine, in Durham, North Carolina. Frances is chair of the task force that developed the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, a massive catalogue of mental illness now undergoing its first major revision in 16 years.

Frances said the drugs are often prescribed "off-label" (meaning they are not Health Canada approved) by primary-care doctors "who have little time and training, without clear indications and with no proven efficacy." He said he worries that proposed changes to the DSM that would expand the diagnosis for some disorders in children while adding new ones — including temper dysregulation disorder — could lead to wider prescribing of antipsychotics to children.

The drugs have been used since the 1990s in the treatment of mental-health disorders in adults. Antipsychotics as a whole were ranked second in Canada, behind cardiovascular medications, as the most prescribed drug class in the country, with 64,853,000 prescriptions filled in 2010, according to IMS Brogan.

Experts say that as doctors have grown more comfortable using the drugs for adults, prescription has spilled over to young people.

As well, public attitudes are changing.

"People's awareness of mental-health disorders overall has improved over the last decade — there's more awareness about it," said Calgary neurologist Dr. Tamara Pringsheim, a member of the Canadian Alliance for Monitoring Effectiveness and Safety of Antipsychotics in Children guideline group.

"When you consider that one in three people will suffer from a mental-health disorder in their lifetime, this is something that happens in every family. People are looking for more help."

The alliance said that multiple randomized controlled clinical trials have looked at the efficacy of many atypical antipsychotics in pediatric mental-health disorders. For many children, though not all children, they're helpful, said Pringsheim, a clinical assistant professor in the department of clinical neurosciences and pediatrics at the University of Calgary.

"I'm not saying they're a panacea . . . I'm just saying that for children with mental health disorders and for families who are really struggling, they can offer some help."

"By no means are these medications a cure for problems," she added. However, "If you can diminish a patient's symptoms by 50 per cent, we consider that helpful."

In many places, Pringsheim said, "the only help that a family can get is medical help. They're not able to access behavioural programs to try and help with aggressive behaviour in a child. It means both the child and the clinician are stuck saying, 'Either this child is going to be in danger daily of hurting themselves and other people, or we can try a medication that may help.' "

Even then putting a child on an antipsychotic is a hard decision for parents to make. "They just hear the name 'antipsychotic' and they're afraid. But some situations become quite desperate."

In addition to weight gain, many of the drugs can cause neurological side effects that can include restlessness and a constant need to move; a decrease in facial expression or a "mask-like" face; abnormal movements of the face, mouth, lips, jaw or tongue; drug-induced tremors and abnormal muscle movements, including neck stretching and writhing.

These extra movements can be "scary and horrible," said Dr. Wendy Roberts, a developmental pediatrician at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children and professor of pediatrics at the University of Toronto. "They're usually reversible, but we don't have a lot of evidence to say how many might not be reversible. It certainly behooves us to warn parents so they're not taken totally by surprise this is happening."

Pringsheim and her co-authors said doctors need to exercise a "high degree of vigilance" when prescribing the drugs to children and youth.

"I think it is your duty as a clinician," she said. "If we're vigilant, if we are watching carefully, we can avoid a number of these situations just by being proactive.

"If we catch a neurological side effect, if we catch a metabolic side effect early, it's much easier to treat them. Things haven't gone so far that it takes months to get things back to where they were."

She said she believes most doctors are being cautious in using the drugs on children.

"A psychiatrist once said to me, 'Your hand should tremble every time you write a prescription for an antipsychotic medication.'

"And I think most clinicians take that to heart. They're not writing it carelessly or flippantly. They're writing a prescription in an effort to help a child and a family that is clearly suffering."

Others say more needs to be done to ensure doctors understand the limits of the benefits.

"In older children and adolescents with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder — which thankfully are rare — there is good evidence that antipsychotic medications are appropriate and can meaningfully improve the lives of the young who receive them," said Dr. Mark Olfson, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University.

But the drugs are more commonly given to children with ADHD and other disruptive behaviours, he said. Whether that's appropriate is less clear, according to Olfson.

Before agreeing to put their child on an antipsychotic, experts say parents should ask the doctor what specific symptoms the drug is targeting, and whether there are other options, including parent management training or parent-child interaction therapy for younger children.

Source: Canada.com

drug story

Attack on Waterloo Police

November 13, 2011 permalink

The Waterloo Regional Police have been attacked by driving a vehicle into their Cambridge headquarters.

Attacks of this sort rarely originate in criminal matters. Most often, the aggrieved party has had his family attacked by the police/social services/judicial system. We will be awaiting further news on the identity of the attacker. Until then, review the case of the late Jim Malone [1] [2] [3].

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Car drives through doors of Cambridge police headquarters

Attack on Waterloo Regional Police

Attack on Waterloo Regional Police

Attack on Waterloo Regional Police

Attack on Waterloo Regional Police

Philip Walker/Record...

Police in Cambridge didn’t have to go far to investigate what they’re calling a targeted attack after a car drove through the front doors at their headquarters on Maple Grove Road early Sunday morning.

Around 5:25 a.m., the car drove through double doors into the lobby of Waterloo Regional Police headquarters.

“This is a deliberate act,” said Waterloo Regional Police Chief Matthew Torigian. “This is a police facility and (it was) targeted directly by the individual.

“Thankfully none of our members were injured.”

The four-door station-wagon-style vehicle rammed through two sets of doors, knocking metal beams aside. It drove into the lobby, coming to a stop between a wall and a vending machine beside the finger-print waiting area. The vehicle travelled about 15 metres inside the building.

Torigian said this was a very traumatic incident for the members of the service working at the time. The records branch is located beside where the car stopped, and it, like most of the first floor of the building, is entirely staffed by civilians.

Officers responded to the scene from within the building. They arrested a male suspect, who remains in custody. The investigation is ongoing.

Police couldn’t discuss what motivated the attack or whether the man had a plan once he was inside the building.

Police tape surrounded the sidewalk leading up to the door and workers were on scene to fix the broken door. Debris and bent door frames had to be removed before the car was backed out the way it came, around 10:15 a.m.

Part of the door frame was dislodged from the ceiling and glass trailed through the headquarters’ lobby. Tire marks streaked the floor, tracing the vehicle’s curved path through the rounded lobby.

“The damage has been extensive, clearly, and we have to do an assessment of that as well,” Torigian said.

The total cost of the damage remains to be seen.

The shattered glass was not bullet proof, according to police. But Torigian pointed out that the building was constructed prior to the terrorist events of the past decade that have necessitated greater security at buildings like police stations or the new court house being built downtown.

He said the service will “look … to determine what architectural designs we need to put in place.”

“One of the important features of any police building is the need to balance public access and the need to service our community (with security concerns),” said Torigian.

Source: The Record

A later report said the car was a grey Dodge Magnum driven by thirty-seven-year-old Bryan Welfred of Tavistock. The car was not stolen. The Waterloo Regional Police posted this video of the damage, YouTube and local copy (mp4).

Len Kennedy Responds

November 12, 2011 permalink

Hastings CAS logo

In a letter to the Belleville Intelligencer Hastings CAS executive director Len Kennedy comments on the case of foster parents Joe and Janet Turner Holm, recently convicted of sexual abuse of their foster children. Following that are three reader comments posted by the newspaper.

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Actions of one couple shouldn't mar work of foster parents

By P. Len Kennedy, Executive Director, Hastings Children's Aid Society

Recent publicity about foster parents in Prince Edward County being convicted on charges of sexual abuse has raised concerns about the safety of the foster care system.

As a CAS with one of the largest foster care networks in Eastern Ontario, I wish to provide the community with information about the safeguards in place to prevent harm to children in foster care.

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services has set out stringent standards for recruitment, training, selection, supervision and support of foster homes. Hastings CAS currently has 181 approved foster families providing care to 166 children.

Anyone wishing to become a foster parent participates in both a prescribed province-wide assessment process and a training program called PRIDE (Parent Resource for Information, Development and Evaluation) which is comprised of nine sessions and must be complete prior to commencing fostering.

In addition, the CAS is required to conduct vulnerable sector screening checks, police checks and character reference checks for each adult in a potential foster home. This includes any children in the home who are over the age of 18.

We look at the applicant's background including family of origin and earlier family experience and history. We also examine relationships and lifestyle issues as part of the evaluation.

Once a foster home is approved and children are placed there, additional standards must be met. These include visits to each child that involve private conversations, at seven days and 30 days after placement and 90 days thereafter.

In addition, our Resource Workers must visit each active foster home every 90 days. Annual reviews must also be complete for each home, a process which includes speaking with every member of the home.

Independent of the CAS, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services conducts an annual licensing review of how the CAS runs its foster care system. This includes file reviews or home visits and interviews with several foster homes associated with the agency.

When complaints or concerns are received from a child in foster care, these are investigated on a timely basis taking precautions for the child to be kept safe and protected while the matter is being looked into.

There are numerous other safeguards in foster care including the child's right to speak to his or her worker, or the Children's Advocate at any time.

Notwithstanding these protections and checks in the system, no CAS is able to give 100 per cent guarantees about what goes on in the privacy of any home.

However, we take our role of protecting children as our most important duty and we work closely with hundreds of foster families each year to provide safe, loving homes to children who require protection.

In October, we held a number of recognition events to honour foster parents in local communities during Foster Family Week. Let us not diminish, due to the actions of one couple, the credit that is due to so many wonderful families who do so much to keep our children safe, nurtured and protected.

P. Len Kennedy
Executive Director
Hastings Children's Aid Society


CAS Says, Actions of one couple shouldn't mar work of foster parents

Recent publicity about foster parents in Prince Edward County being convicted on charges of sexual abuse has raised concerns about the safety of the foster care system.

As a CAS with one of the largest foster care networks in Eastern Ontario, I wish to provide the community with information about the safeguards in place to prevent harm to children in foster care.

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services has set out stringent standards for recruitment, training, selection, supervision and support of foster homes. Hastings CAS currently has 181 approved foster families providing care to 166 children.


PAT NIAGARA

We hear this again and again yet the problem is still happening, kids being abused, sexual abuse and the list go's on. It has been getting worse over the years and it's clear the The Ministry of Children and Youth Services stringent standards are just not working. This is all the more reason the Children's Aid need Ombudsman oversight. Doors also need to be opened for any child or youth who has been abused in the system to file a lawsuit and be compensated for any type of wrong doing while in the care of CAS and its poorly ran foster homes


Pat Niagara is totally right, abuse in foster care is rampant, there is no oversight, Ombudsman review is needed, and all abused should be compensated and helped. Sexual, physical and emotional abuse happens all the time in foster care. This self-serving diatribe is once again about the image of the CAS and foster strangers instead of children. CAS refuses to see the level of child abuse in foster care and it is despicable. The public needs to be aware. Further when children report abuse they are not always given attention or listened to. In fact someone posted on another comment section that the abuse in this case was reported and nothing was done, that is not confirmed but it would be no surprise at all. For all concerned please watch out for kids in foster care, and worry more about the safety of these kids, not the image of CAS or their paid agents. What is sickening about this spin is that it does nothing to address preventing abuse what so ever, it truly is disgraceful and as Pat Niagara stated all the more reason to have Ombudsman oversight.


They are in dire need of oversight and clearly looking at the cases piling up such as this one there is an underlying issue not being address. The CAS does not care what happens to these kids once they are in care and their paycheck starts to roll in. Many foster kids claim that abuse in all forms is commonplace in these group homes or foster homes and complaining about it is useless. This alone would support what I am saying, they are charged with protecting the vulnerable kids yet they do nothing to not only prevent the abuses but more importantly, put an end to it. This article is dispicable and only damage control on their part because more and more of these stories are coming out everyday. CAS - I hope your days are numbered, oversight and criminal charges against those who fail to protect when that is precisely what they are paid to do could not come soon enough!

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

In his letter Mr Kennedy cites rule after rule applied by his agency to vet foster parents. Is that all? Does he even care about the children? Where is the apology to the children harmed by his agency? The apology to the families of the children? He gives no hint of taking responsibility for the failure of his agency. What he really cares about is avoiding responsibility, blaming the foster parents while excusing his own agency for putting children in the hands of derelict caretakers.

On another point, the headline starts "actions of one couple shouldn't ...". It is not just one couple. Fixcas generally ignores stories of sexual abuse from foster care in other jurisdictions. There are just too many, and current custom groups serious abuse (raping a girl causing two pregnancies) with the trivial (oral sex to a wine bottle). We included this one because it is a rare case from Ontario. Why are they rare? Not because there is no abuse — talk to almost any graduate of foster care to find out the real conditions. They are rare because of the efforts of CAS, including Mr Kennedy, to suppress the news.

Fixcas on Smartphones

November 11, 2011 permalink

Fixcas is smartphone ready
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You can now access FIXCAS from any smartphone or cell phone with a QR Code Reader. Now you can simply take a photo of the QR Code and it will take your right to the site. You can also access fixcas on any cellphone with mobile browser at www.fixcas.com (data charges may apply). You can now keep up on all the CAS News anytime, anywhere.

Thanks to Pat Niagara for the QR code. For mobile users there is also the link fixcas.com/cgi-bin/mobile.py giving the current news page only.

Family Holocaust

November 11, 2011 permalink

For Remembrance Day Canada Court Watch sends a message from the late Maurice Conway (pdf). Mr Conway fought as a soldier in World War II to protect democracy. What he saw in family court was like the holocaust he fought to defeat.

Social Workers Defy Court

November 11, 2011 permalink

A Saskatchewan mother known only as A.H., who was a former foster child herself, lost her children because she was a drug-addicted prostitute. But after she turned her life around a judge ordered social services to let the mother visit her children. Social services refused to comply with the order of the judge.

Here is a link to the decision of judge Geoffrey Dufour.

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Social workers failed Sask. mom, judge says

A Saskatchewan judge is raising concerns about provincial social service workers who repeatedly ignored court orders relating to a woman hoping to reunite with her children.

Court of Queen's Bench judge Geoffrey Dufour, in a decision released this week to an online legal database, said he wants more answers from the ministry and — if none are provided — may refer the matter for criminal prosecution.

"I am compelled to address ... the apparent failure of the Ministry of Social Services to comply with orders of this court," Dufour said in the case, which was initiated by a woman suing ministry officials to regain custody of her children.

The names of the children, aged five and three, and the mother, 26, who is from Prince Albert, Sask., cannot be reported.

According to Dufour's decision, the mother had undergone a transformation from a drug-addicted sex worker to a responsible adult.

"This is a truly remarkable story," Dufour said. "The story of A.H., a mother who has escaped a life of prostitution and squalor and bested addictions so that she might have the ability to parent her two children."

In the court ruling, Dufour outlined how A.H. spent her childhood in the foster home system, eventually ending up on the streets.

"A.H. was pretty much on her own by the time she was 14," Dufour said. "[She was] exchanging her body for alcohol and bouncing between extended family members, temporary foster parents and state-run facilities. She started injecting Ritalin when she was 16 and soon became addicted to the morphine derivative dilaudid."

Her children, who A.H. believed were fathered by johns, were apprehended at birth.

No longer a 'waif'

The judge wrote that A.H. was eventually able to beat her addictions and improve her life.

"A.H. had morphed from the waif I saw in April, 2009 into someone who was healthy, well-groomed and much more focussed and confident," Dufour said. "She has been living in the same nice two-bedroom suite for more than two years and has not injected Ritalin for more than a year."

According to Dufour, despite several positive professional assessments of A.H., ministry officials did not want the children returned to the woman.

Dufour had ordered that A.H. be allowed supervised visits, but those were largely ignored.

"It is clear that the visits that were ordered did not take place," Dufour said. "It is essential in my view to find out why not."

He ordered the ministry to provide an explanation by Feb. 12, 2012 and warned that if none were forthcoming, he might take further action.

"Other courts have referred the matter to the Attorney General for a determination as to whether prosecutions for contempt of court should be initiated," Dufour noted.

Finally, he found that A.H. had progressed enough to gain more access to her children and ordered that nine weeks of supervised visits take place, followed by the full return of the children, effective Thursday.

Dufour said that social workers could still supervise the woman's home for 12 months.

CBC News contacted officials at the Ministry of Social Services, but they declined to speak about the specific case.

"We are continually reviewing our processes to improve the services that we do provide for children and families," Andrea Brittin, the Executive Director of service delivery for child and family services, told CBC News Wednesday.

Source: CBC

Addendum: Though the story omits names, this looks like the same case. The ministry admits to its mistake and issues a rare apology to the family.

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Social Services apologizes to mom

June Draude
Social Services Minister June Draude
Photograph by: Don Healy , Leader-Post files

Social Services staff who disregarded a Prince Albert judge’s explicit orders to allow visits between a mother and her two young children were clearly wrong to do so, Ministry officials conceded in a report filed earlier this month at Court of Queen’s Bench.

Justice Geoff Dufour requested the report last October in a scathing written decision granting 26-year-old “Alice” full custody of her kids, five-year-old “Eric” and three-year-old “Kay,” who had been apprehended at birth and placed in foster homes because of her drug addiction and involvement in prostitution.

Their identities are protected from publication.

Faced with a Social Services application to have her children declared permanent wards of the province, Alice sobered up, took parenting classes and completely changed her entire lifestyle in just two years, despite incredible odds, according to extensive evidence outlined in Dufour’s judgment on the case.

Convinced that she could not be a fit mother because of “groundless” suspicions she was still abusing drugs, Ministry staff repeatedly failed to comply with his specific orders for regular visits between Alice and her children in 2010 and 2011, Dufour found. Rather than convene a hearing or refer the matter to the attorney general for a decision on whether to prosecute for contempt of court, Dufour gave Social Services until Feb. 1 to provide him with a “full and frank report” about what happened.

Social Services Deputy Minister Ken Acton filed that report on Feb. 1, according to a written supplementary decision by Dufour, which was recently released on a public legal database.

“The ministry’s Quality Assurance Unit completed an administrative review of the handling of this matter within three weeks of my decision. The report submitted to the Court states that ‘ … it is clear that the Ministry of Social Services fell short of the standard required with respect to following the explicit orders of the Court in his case …,’” Dufour noted.

“I will not go into great detail, but I do accept that there were real and not insignificant logistical problems associated with bringing (Kay) for visits with her mother. (Kay) was in foster care in Buffalo Narrows which is a 10-hour return trip from Prince Albert.”

According to Acton’s report, Social Services staff considered having caseworkers transport the girl to and from Prince Albert for visits, “but the unit managing the case did not have sufficient staff to allow this. There were staff recruitment and retention difficulties in the Prince Albert office at that time (the unit has been on average at half-staff for the past two years).”

When Dufour ordered unsupervised overnight visits for Alice and her children, a caseworker and supervisor thought she’d be “overwhelmed,” which would put the kids at risk. They even consulted a ministry lawyer, who told them to comply with the judge’s instructions. They ignored the lawyer as well.

“The Ministry erred when it did not take the advice of legal counsel which clarified that the court-ordered access was very clear …” Acton’s report stated.

Following the internal review, an email was sent to all Child and Family Services workers in the province, reminding them of the risk of “serious ramifications” for not strictly following court orders, Dufour noted. A letter was also sent to all of the ministry’s legal agents in the province, outlining the expectation that Social Services staff will be advised of court decisions as quickly as possible.

Acton’s report said the Ministry is also developing a checklist for Child and Family Services supervisors that includes the need to comply with court orders. Training for workers and supervisors will also reinforce that message, and yearly reviews of files will include an evaluation of compliance.

“The Ministry sincerely apologizes to the Court, to (Alice), and to (Eric) and (Kay) for not complying with the court-ordered visits, as well as for making changes to access plans without the Court’s prior approval,” Acton wrote.

Source: StarPhoenix

Social Worker Threatened

November 11, 2011 permalink

After a court hearing in Kentucky, Rodney J Staley turned the tables and threatened a social worker. He was soon arrested.

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Police arrest man after lockdown at McCreary courthouse, schools

The McCreary County courthouse and schools were locked down Wednesday after noon while state police searched for a man they said threatened to kill a social worker.

Rodney J. Staley, 40, was charged with terroristic threatening. He was arrested at 6:03 p.m. Wednesday, about 6 hours after police received a report that he was sitting in a car outside the courthouse with a gun.

Staley, of Parkers Lake, had gotten upset about the outcome of a court hearing before threatening the social worker, according to a news release from state police.

Staley had driven off when police arrived at the courthouse, the release said. Officers searched "numerous locations" but were unable to find him, it said. Schools and the courthouse were locked down during the search.

Staley was eventually found near Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset. He was lodged at the McCreary County Detention Center.

Source: Lexington Herald Leader

Guilty of Motherhood

November 11, 2011 permalink

A mother who took her daughter from Nebraska foster care has been found guilty of a crime.

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Woman who fled state with daughter enters plea

Melissa Portillo
Melissa Portillo
courtesy photo

A Lincoln woman who fled to New Mexico with her 2-year-old daughter has pleaded no contest to violating a custody order.

Melissa Portillo, 25, was released from jail Friday on a personal recognizance bond and is to be sentenced in January.

On Aug. 19, she fled with JonTaia Warrack during a supervised visit at her apartment and was arrested the next day at a relative's home in Las Cruces, N.M.

Portillo was jailed and later brought back to Nebraska, and JonTaia's foster parents drove to New Mexico to get her.

The girl has been in foster care since she was 10 months old, when she was taken out of the home on allegations her parents, Portillo and John Warrack, abused drugs and had domestic violence issues. They since have lost parental rights to her.

Source: Lincoln Journal Star

Addendum: On January 6 Portillo was sentenced to 240 days in jail.

Foster Rape

November 11, 2011 permalink

Jose Gonzales loved his foster daughter so much that when New Mexico CYFD placed her in a new home he tracked her down and raped her.

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CYFD: Foster Parent Convicted Of Kidnapping, Raping Child

Officials Don't Think Man Targeted Any Other Children

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- An Albuquerque foster parent has been convicted of kidnapping and raping a child.

The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department said Jose Gonzales attacked a 17-year-old girl he was trusted to protect in 2007.

The CYFD said the attack happened after the girl was moved to a different home.

"It's certainly outrageous," said CYFD spokesman Enrique Knell. "It's devastating."

Knell said as soon as the victim came forward with the allegations, the agency made sure Gonzales would never be a foster parent again.

"All we have to say is good riddance, and we hope he's punished to the greatest extent of the law," Knell said.

Knell couldn't say how long Gonzales was a foster parent or how many kids he looked after and could have put in danger.

Knell also couldn't say what kind of screening process Gonzales went through to become a foster parent, but he said it has become stricter since this incident. The state now gives more extensive background checks, and families get more intrusive home visits to make sure there are no signs of abuse, Knell said.

"When this kind of thing happens even once, it's once too many," Knell said.

Gonzales faces more than 100 years in prison. He was convicted last month and hasn't been sentenced.

CYFD officials said they don't believe that Gonzales targeted any other foster children.

Source: KOAT-TV

Applied Kidnapping 101

November 11, 2011 permalink

A social worker came to the home of a mother in Alabama and took five-week-old Courtlyn Anderson into foster care. Pretty commonplace, but this time the social worker was an impostor.

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5-week-old baby girl taken from mother's residence in Fairfield by pretend DHR worker

Courtlyn Anderson
Five-week-old Courtlyn Anderson was taken from her mother's residence in Fairfield, Ala., this morning by a woman pretending to be a worker for the Alabama Department of Human Resources, Fairfield police say.

FAIRFIELD, Alabama -- Police say they are searching for a missing 5-week old baby girl who was taken from her mother's home this morning by a woman pretending to be a social worker with the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

The Alabama Department of Public Safety has issued an Amber Alert for the baby, named Courtlyn Anderson. Fairfield police Chief Leon Davis Jr. said a woman pretending to be a DHR worker took the child from her mother's home at 116 61st St. in Fairfield.

According to Davis:

A woman came to the house about 9:30 this morning and told Courtlyn's mother she was a DHR worker and needed to do a home inspection and investigation. After 30 minutes, the woman told Courtlyn's mother she was taking her daughter into protective custody. The infant, her car seat and teddy bear were removed from the house.

The woman left in a black SUV and was accompanied by someone acting as a police officer in a black late-model Dodge Charger with a blue municipal tag plate, Davis said.

Police and the mother both contacted DHR officials, who told them they have no record of the case, Davis said.

Anyone with information on the baby's whereabouts is asked to contact the Fairfield Police Department at 205-786-4111.

Source: Birmingham News

Bracebridge Rally

November 11, 2011 permalink

Twenty people attended a rally outside the Bracebridge courthouse on November 10. The rally was intentionally not announced on any public forum to add an element of surprise. Most of the group continued two hours later at the second phase in front of the CAS office on Pine Street in Bracebridge.

The police were confrontational, claiming that ralliers speaking amounted to a disturbance of the peace. Two uninhibited participants faced up to the police and refused to quiet down. The police backed off and for the next hour and a half the rally continued without interference.

Articles by Canada Court Watch and Cottage Country Now are enclosed.

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Bracebridge courthouse rally, November 10, 2011

Vernon Beck

Police became aggressive with citizens who had gathered outside of the Bracebridge, Ontario courthouse to protest the family court system and the children's aid society. At one point and in front of witnesses, including a reporter from the local community newspaper, one police officer used force and confiscated (stole) the personal property of one protester consisting of a report on the abuse of power and authorty by the OPP. The officer grabbed the document and said that he was confiscating it.

It would appear as if some members of the Ontario Provincial police who work at the Bracebridge, Ontario courthouse consider themselves above the law.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch


Protesters picket Bracebridge courthouse

Bracebridge courthouse rally
A STAND AGAINST CAS. A small but boisterous group is currently outside of the Bracebridge courthouse protesting what they claim are crimes against families involved in the Children's Aid Society.
Photo by Neil Etienne

BRACEBRIDGE - Members of Canada Court Watch were in front of the Bracebridge courthouse Thursday protesting for transparency in the Children's Aid Society (CAS).

Claiming there have been significant legal violations by CAS workers in Ontario, the group also argues the Ontario Courts of Justice have perpetuated and aided the alleged crimes against wards of the state. Canada Court Watch wants case workers within CAS to be registered and comply with the Social Work and Social Services Work Act proclaimed into law in 2000, requiring people engaged in the social work practice be registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers.

For more detail see next Wednesday's edition of your local newspaper.

Source: Cottage Country Now

Two more pictures show a courthouse confrontation with police and the children's aid office.

Addendum: Yet another picture shows two organizers, Vern Beck and Chad Wells. To their right are four passersby joining in by holding signs.

Ted Conway
Ted Conway

While Chad Wells was trying to show a document to a local newspaper reporter, OPP constable Ted Conway confiscated it. It was a draft of a 37-page report on police misconduct in the arrest of Chad Wells on May 12. Canada Court Watch has released a report: Statement by Mr. Chad Wells regarding the harassment of protesters by police at the Bracebridge, Ontario courthouse on November 10th, 2011 (pdf).

The Bracebridge Examiner did a front-page article that dealt with the real issues.

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Protests take aim at children's aid, courts

Bracebridge courthouse rally
Speaking out. Canada Court Watch member Chris Carter addresses police officers during a protest outside the Bracebridge courthouse Nov.
10. Neil Etienne

For at least the second time this year members of Canada Court Watch were in front of the Bracebridge Courthouse and the Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka office protesting for transparency in the Children’s Aid Society (CAS).

Last Thursday, Nov. 10, the organization, including several members from both the Bracebridge and Gravenhurst areas, levelled their fingers and their bullhorns at the courthouse, claiming there have been significant legal violations by CAS workers in Ontario. The group also alleges the Ontario Courts of Justice have perpetuated “crimes” against wards of the state by allowing non-registered CAS workers to make recommendations on cases before the courts.

Protest organizer Chad Wells said Canada Court Watch wants case workers within CAS to be registered and comply with the Social Work and Social Services Work Act proclaimed into law in 2000, requiring people engaged in the social work practice be registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers. He said the people who make recommendations to the court are not registered social workers and should therefore not be accepted by the courts.

Wells, who was arrested during a similar protest at the courthouse this past May, led another boisterous rally with about 20 supporters on hand without incident this time around.

One of the protestors was Gravenhurst’s Gordon Merton, 20, who became a ward of the state at about 12 years of age. He said the Bracebridge courthouse was where he was taken from his mother, Christine Terry, who too held a placard in hand on Thursday.

“I want to see transparency (in the CAS system),” he said. “If there is a complaint it has to be dealt with immediately and not brushed away; none of the social workers are registered in Muskoka, it’s unlawful … they never considered what I wanted; which was to be with my mother.”

Starting their protest in the morning at the courthouse, the group later moved to the child services office in the mid-afternoon for about an hour before breaking camp. In Muskoka, Family, Youth and Children Services is responsible for children’s aid and children’s mental health services.

Wells said Canada Court Watch has held about 60 protests this year alone and will continue to do so until the issues of non-registered social workers is addressed.

Aware of the group’s complaints, Muskoka’s family services’ executive director Marty Rutledge said the issue of child protection can be an emotional one where not everyone can appreciate the outcome.

“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,” he said. “As a society, Ontarians have been world leaders in their commitment to the protection of children from harm and neglect at the hands of their caregivers and so we know that the work of child protection is honourable, necessary work in our community.”

Source: Bracebridge Examiner

Addendum: As of November 17, constable Conway has returned the seized document to the reporter. More news.

Here is the Bracebridge video (mp4).

Welland Rally

November 9, 2011 permalink

CAS/FACS Require Independent Oversight Today

The first report from today's Welland rally is enclosed, and here are some pictures. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]. The video is on YouTube and our local copy (mp4).

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Pat Niagara
Rally for Accountability - Welland, Ontario

On Nov 9th 2011 Advocates from around Ontario again took Aim at the C.A.S. this time in Welland, ON wanting oversight within the Children's Aid Society. Advocates from Canada Court Watch, Unregistered CAS/FACS workers unlawfully working in Ontario, Protecting Canadian Children all teamed at Main Street East and @ Crowland Ave to bring awareness to the people of Welland about the "MUSH SECTOR" and "The Unlawful Practice of Social Work by C.A.S. We also collected signatures on 3 separate petitions.

More detail:

On Nov 9th 2011 Advocates from a number of groups from around Ontario again took Aim at the C.A.S. this time in Welland, ON wanting oversight within the Children's Aid Society. Advocates from Canada Court Watch, Unregistered CAS/FACS workers unlawfully working in Ontario, Protecting Canadian Children all teamed on the corners of Main Street East and @ Crowland Ave to bring awareness to the people of Welland about the "MUSH SECTOR" and "The Unlawful Practice of Social Work by Children's Aid Workers in Ontario. We also collected signatures on 3 separate petitions. We also talked to a number of people telling them how to put the school forms in place to keep the Children's Aid away from there kids while at school. I also got a number of honks by cars. And had the police even stop by about the noise from the megaphone. All in All it was a Great Rally and a nice day to do it.

Source: Facebook

The Welland Tribune also has a photo.

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Welland rally
Pat Niagara, a member of Court Watch Canada leads a protest on Wednesday at East Main St. and Crowland Ave. demanding that Ontario appoint an ombudsman for Children and Family Services because they believe it destroys good families.
Photo by: VICTORIA GRAY Staff Photo • 11/09/2011 06:43:59 PM

Source: Welland Tribune

Addendum: A one-woman rally took place the same day in Haileybury.

Jennifer Joy Canada Court Watch

This was the rally at the Haileybury courthouse by myself on November 9, 2011 at 1 pm. It was family courts that day. It was very wet, cold and pouring rain that day. A couple honked on the streets.

Haileybury pictures: [1] [2] [3].

Dysfunctional System

November 9, 2011 permalink

Today's story is of a former crown ward sitting in detention. There is not enough information to know why he is detained, even his sister does not know, but there is enough to show an example of a crown ward being turned into a dysfunctional adult.

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Candi Marie I need my story to be heard. I want to explode I'm so angry inside. I would LOVE media to take this story. I USED to be a Foster Parent until I saw how unbelievably useless they are.

My brother is paranoid schizophrenia. He has been a crown ward since early age. At the age of 16 after being on his meds and an honour roll student they told him that he no longer had to take his meds because of his age if he didnt want to.

My brother quickly became homeless. Lived outdoors through all weather with his dog and believed he didn't belong in this part of the world. Was convinced everyone was poisoning his food and he needed to hunt for his own food.

My mother and I and the police stepped in and had him admitted to the hospital for a full evaluation. The doctor did not want to let him go and said he is very unstable and a risk to himself.

His wonderful Facs worker stepped in and removed him and said there were no problems and would take my brother to a "safe place". About an hour or two later I recieved the phone call that my brother was dropped off at a camp site paid for two week. He quickly hitch hiked back to his place under a bridge and found himself worse off. He's currently sitting in solitary confinement in the Niagara Detention Center and has been there since August from what I can find out. He will be there until December 15th after his bail was remanded until then. His worker was completely unaware of all of this and hasn't even been in to see him! I can honestly say my brother is NOT a criminal. He has mental disorders that they are refusing to deal with! Now alone, it is making his mental state MUCH worse... I can't even imagine. But we wouldn't know because we are not allowed contact, visits or calls from him...19 years old and destroyed by our system.

This is how FACS treats our children. Sets them up for failure then washes their hands of them.

Thanks Facs... another job well done for you???

Source: Facebook

Share Stories of Muskoka CAS Worker Josh Clement

November 9, 2011 permalink

Vernon Beck As part of its mandate to protect the public interest, Canada Court Watch has initiated a preliminary investigation into the activities of CAS worker, Josh Clement, of the Muskoka CAS. Any member of the public having information about Mr. Clement that they would like to share with Canada Court in its investigation is encouraged to contact us in confidence at info@canadacourtwatch.com

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Mr Clement's name appears nine times in the story of the Tomkinson family.

Audit the OACAS!

November 8, 2011 permalink

John Dunn is looking into the possibility that the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) violates the law by using public funds for lobbying. What other money do they have?

Addendum: John revised his posting. The revisions are in the expand block in red.

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OACAS Permitted to Lobby Under Lobbyist Registration Act

Update: According to the Lobbyist Registry, The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) is permitted to Lobby the Ontario Government on behalf of Children's Aid Societies as the OACAS is deemed an "In House Lobbyist" and not a "Consultant Lobbyist".

Generally, and without getting into too much detail, groups which are formed such as Associations of Hospitals, the Association of Children's Aid Societies and similar bodies are allowed to lobby on behalf of their members as "In House Lobbyists" because they lobby for their members.

However, if a an individual CAS (or any number of them) were to hire an external "Consultant Lobbyist" outside of the OACAS to lobby the Government on their behalf, and the/those Society(ies) were using public funds (Ministry Transfer Payments to that / those particular CAS(s) ) to pay the "Constultant Lobbyist", then, and only then might their actions warrant prosecution under the Lobbyist Registration Act.

OACAS Being Investigated - Lobbyist Registration Act

The Foster Care Council of Canada is investigating whether the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies and it's member organizations (CAS) are contravening Offence creating provisions of the Lobbyists Registration Act in connection with the OACAS lobbying the Ontario Government with public funds from it's member agencies.

The OACAS (a registered Lobbyist) is required to fill out an attestation form stating that it does not lobby government using public funds from its clients (CAS).

(CORRECTION: The OACAS, because they are an "In House Lobbyist" and not an external "Consultant Lobbyist" does not have to fill out an attestation form. Only an external "Consultant Lobbyist" would be required to do so)

If the investigation finds that the OACAS is in fact lobbying the government using public funds from it's clients (CAS) charges will be considered. Under the Act, a fine of up to $25,000 could be issued against the offenders as shown below:

Offence re public funds, etc.

(7.1) Every individual who fails to comply with section 4.1 is guilty of an offence. 2010, c. 25, s. 25 (10).

Penalty

(8) Upon conviction of an offence under this section, an individual is liable to a fine of not more than $25,000. 1998, c. 27, Sched., s. 18 (8).

The following facts are obtained from the already publicly available public registry of Registered Lobbyists.

Registered Lobbyist: Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies
Senior Officer (Executive Director): Mary Ballantyne
Registration Number: OL0149-20000411140331

List of Employees Whose Duties Include Lobbying:

  • Virginia Rowden, Director of Social Policy;
  • Steven Woodman, Director, Corporate Services;
  • Bernadette Gallagher, Director, Education Services;
  • Rory Gleeson, Senior Policy Analyst;
  • Mary Ballantyne, Executive Director;
  • Jade Maitland, Coordinator, YouthCAN Program;
  • Adam Diamond, Coordinator, YouthCAN Program;

The following request for an advisory opinion has been submitted to the Registrar of the Ontario Lobbyist Registry (Integrity Commissioner) for response.

Read the request by clicking here

Source: Foster Care News, John Dunn

Girl Dies of Broken Heart

November 8, 2011 permalink

Three-year-old Chancey Miller died in foster care months after removal from her parents in Newfoundland. The medically fragile girl was born with a condition requiring a pacemaker implanted shortly after birth. In removals of medically fragile children it is common that the real parents master the specialized care required to keep the child alive. Less-motivated foster parents do not, and the child dies of neglect. The authorities in Toronto, where the girl died in either the Hospital for Sick Children or foster care, are giving conflicting stories. There is a Facebook memorial at Friends of Chancey. Oh, the reason for removing Chancey? CYFS found out that she spent time with her father.

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Grief-stricken mom speaks out

Maryann Miller
Maryann Miller of St. John’s is overcome with emotion while speaking about her three-year-old daughter Chancey who recently passed away in Ontario. Miller says she was forced to return home to Newfoundland when her daughter was placed in foster care in Ontario, two weeks after undergoing heart surgery. In the foreground is a photo of Chancey with Elmo.
Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Less than a week after her daughter’s death, a St. John’s woman is speaking out about their treatment by Child Youth and Family Services.

Maryann Miller of St. John’s says she hopes no other family will endure the emotional stress that she and three-year-old Chancey faced, especially in the last few weeks of her daughter’s life.

Chancey, a petite blond-haired girl, was less than three months old when she was diagnosed with heart problems and had to undergo surgery in Halifax to have a pacemaker implanted.

Miller said she and Chancey always had a close relationship, so close that she was a naturally shy child who would cling to her mom anytime she was around strangers.

In June, Chancey was removed from Miller’s home by the province’s child protection division. Miller said a social worker saw a photo that her older daughter took of Chancey with her father, who had been ordered to only have supervised visits.

“They said they had proof that she was left alone with her father,” said Miller, who disputes that allegation, but said she was never even given an opportunity to explain anything in court.

Miller said Chancey fretted about being removed from her home and it broke her heart, too.

In August, Miller said doctors at the Janeway Hospital in St. John’s referred Chancey to the Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto because of problems with her pacemaker. It was determined that she would need surgery to have a new pacemaker implanted.

Child protection services in Newfoundland arranged for Miller to accompany her daughter to Toronto in mid-August where the surgery was performed. She was accommodated at a nearby hotel.

But, Miller said, two weeks and a day after she arrived there, a nurse informed her that a foster parent was coming to the hospital for a meeting about Chancey.

Miller said she went to the meeting and found out that this foster parent takes in sick children. She said she asked whether she could visit Chancey there and the woman told her she doesn’t normally have visitors in her home.

“There was one lady from Ontario that said they only have six hours of a week … She said one child don’t see their parent, another child only gets a couple of hours … I was cracking up,” Miller said.

From there, she said she phoned a Newfoundland social worker she had been dealing with and was informed child protection services wouldn’t be supporting her stay any longer in Ontario, that she would have to return home.

“I said this is all crazy. I left the hospital and had to go for a breather because I felt like I was going to pass out,” Miller said. “They just said they were not going to support me up there because the lady doesn’t have it in her home and they weren’t going to give me the times because they don’t have that up there, visiting. That’s the Ontario rules up that way for child protection.”

In the meantime, Miller said, she begged the doctors to keep her daughter in hospital longer because she had lost weight, still had a feeding tube inserted and didn’t appear well.

Miller said she was giving Chancey her heart medication at hospital because she was so shy around the nurses, she wouldn’t take it for them, so she figured she wouldn’t eat well around strangers either.

“I said she’s going to be fretting, she’s going to end up getting worse. I said something was going to happen to her, who’s going to be responsible? Nobody would answer me,” Miller said.

Chancey Miller
Chancey Miller, 3, stands with Elmo at the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.
Submitted photo

After the meeting, she saw Chancey again. “She was screeching, ‘Mom, don’t go,’” Miller said, her own emotions uncontrollable, while recalling her daughter’s tearful cries for her to stay.

Miller said a social worker from Newfoundland came to Toronto to transition Chancey into the new foster home.

“I stayed in the hospital and cried for a few hours because I couldn’t leave and then when I went to the hotel, I couldn’t get in. I was locked out,” she said.

Not knowing what to do, Miller returned to the hospital, where she said an employee at the front desk was able to reach the Newfoundland social worker, who then made arrangements for her to stay at the hotel another night.

Miller said she spoke to Chancey by phone that night and she was still “crying and screeching,” saying “Mommy, I want to come home.”

She said she was allowed to see Chancey for two hours the next day and then had nowhere to go but walk the streets before meeting up with the social worker to travel to the airport and return to Newfoundland.

Just a little more than two weeks after she left Toronto, Miller said social workers showed up at her home in the centre of St. John’s Saturday with a box of tissues. They were there to break the news to her that her daughter had passed away in Ontario.

Thursday, Miller was still trying to find out the truth of what happened to her daughter and when she died because she said the information she’s received has been conflicting.

Miller said she was told by social workers that Chancey died in the hospital from an infection, while a doctor in Toronto said she died at the foster home. She said she also saw a report from the Toronto hospital suggesting that Chancey’s condition was getting worse and talking about a possible heart transplant.

Miller said the way she was treated was wrong and by speaking out, she hopes it will prevent other families from going through this.

“I’m hoping it will help some other families because I should have never left the hospital and she should have stayed in the hospital because she was still sick,” Miller said.

While she was in Toronto, Miller said was only given $20 a day for food, so many days she went hungry, but she didn’t complain. She said child protection services didn’t even have to keep her in a hotel because she would have been happy to stay in cheaper accommodations as long as she could be near Chancey.

St. John’s lawyer Brian Wentzel has been speaking out on behalf of Miller and a close friend has set up a Friends of Chancey Facebook group.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she’s also planning to establish a trust fund and fundraise to help Miller with the funeral expenses.

As of Thursday, Miller said autopsy results had not been disclosed to her and she was still waiting to hear when her daughter’s body would be returned to the province for a funeral service.

The provincial government doesn’t speak about specific child protection cases because of privacy legislation, but Child Youth and Family Services Minister Charlene Johnson stated publicly this week that she doesn’t believe workers in her department did anything wrong.

Source: The Telegram

Chancey Miller
Chancey

Source: posted to Canada Court Watch by father Bill Miller

Parental Alienation

November 8, 2011 permalink

Today's post shows that parental alienation occurs in child protection cases, not just from feuding spouses in divorce.

Tabitha Leeks Thompson CAS kept my child and I apart for 5 weeks arguing there was not a court order for visitation between us. Before the dispute happened my child loved me despite being in care for over a year. Now he hates me and says he hopes I am killed in a car crash. I don't know how I'll ever turn this around. Great job CAS.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Sex for Kids

November 8, 2011 permalink

Indiana social worker Scott Ogden told a mother she could see her children in exchange for sex. He doesn't look like a lowly caseworker, his title is manager and supervisor. Ogden further groomed the same client with drugs and a picture of his genitalia. Before hiring him five years ago Indiana DCS already knew of a conviction for a drug offense. Among Ogden's other cases he was responsible for twelve-year-old Devin Parsons, beaten to death in June.

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DCS Director "angry" over worker's alleged mishaps

Scott Ogden, 28, is accused of trading favors involving children for sex

Scott Ogden
Scott Ogden

Indianapolis

The Director of Indiana's Department of Child Services told Fox59, Monday, he felt "violated" and "angry" in the wake of serious criminal charges filed against a former employee.

Judge James Payne fired Scott Ogden from his position as case manager and supervisor.

Ogden, 28, was arrested Thursday for allegedly giving a client drugs, sending her a picture of his genitalia and promising her a meeting with her four children she no longer had custody of if she had sex with him.

He faces charges of official misconduct, dealing of a controlled substance, possession of and receiving property and distribution of obscene material.

"I still cannot put myself in a position where I understand why someone would do this?" said Payne. "I feel violated. I feel angry."

Payne said he is now bracing for the possibility that this was not an isolated incident.

"My fear is that this is a pattern of behavior that occurred over a period of time."

That's why DCS will comb through hundreds of cases Ogden either directly worked on or supervised in the past two to three years of his five year employment with the department. That will include the Devin Parsons case, the tragic tale of a boy who Decatur County authorities said was beaten to death by his mother.

"We will send a team down there, somewhere between two and four people to start looking at cases, talking to people, finding out if there are any other case incidences that may cause us to question the outcome and the safety of children," explained Payne.

Last week, Fox59 pulled up Ogden's personnel file and found the DCS knew about a past drug charge before hiring him at the age of 23. There were also two references from within the department who questioned Ogden's experience.

Fox59 wanted to know if Ogden should have been hired at all?

"In hindsight, the answer is no," answered Payne. "There were things in his background that we questioned, we analyzed, and we still made our best decision."

He said Ogden was hired because the drug incident happened when he was 18 and Ogden had proved he made changes in his life, interning with the DCS and graduating with a degree in psychology.

Payne knows the public's trust in the department has been damaged, but hopes Hoosiers will understand that one employee's actions do not reflect some 1,500 other DCS case managers working across the state.

"The fact that one among us that dishonored that trust, should not reflect adversely on again the hundreds of people who dedicate their lives to making sure that children are safe."

Source: WXIN-TV Fox59

sex slave

Elvis Not on TV

November 7, 2011 permalink

According to an informant, Vision Television refused to broadcast the Daily Split program featuring Dorian Baxter aka Elvis Priestley. Rev Baxter speaks of the aggressive apprehension of children to meet funding requirements for private children's aid societies. We got a copy from the Daily Split website and YouTube, preserved in a local copy (mp4). The copy here will go only to persons already familiar with the failings of child protection. Suppression of the broadcast keeps the message away from naive viewers, slowing the developing backlash against children's aid.

Cody Prays

November 6, 2011 permalink

Twelve-year-old CAS ward Cody XXXX is interviewed on video by Max Radico and Lillian Christine Sorko. Cody, a resident of a group home in Brantford, when asked gives his only wish: to return to his Nana, not on visitation, but 24/7. The group home is a friendless place where his earlier attempt to record goings-on ended with a staffer confiscating his recorder. Cody closes the interview with a prayer for the encouragement and success of his advocates. You can watch the interview on YouTube or a local copy (mp4). Expand to see the YouTube blurb.

Fixcas joins Cody in his prayers.

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CODY -A story of a 12 year old boy who has been stripped of his rights by the Children's Aid Society when all this child wants to do is go home to his Nana's. This child has a place to go and a Nana who wants and loves him but CAS wants him in a group home where the child has no friends and has his personal belongings taken/stolen from his case worker.

VIDEO by: Max Radico (Grasshopper Media)
VIDEO EDIT by: Pat Niagara (Unregistered CAS/FACS workers unlawfully working in Ontario)

Source: YouTube, Pat Niagara

Renew Now!

November 6, 2011 permalink

Ontario College of Social Workers & Social Service Workers logo

As a public service, fixcas reminds all children's aid workers in Ontario to renew your registration with the Ontario College of Social Workers & Social Service Workers. (We know you read this site when the boss is not looking). The renewal period started on November 1. If you have never registered at all, this is your chance to bring yourself into compliance with the laws of Ontario. Follow the easy instructions in the expand block.

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It’s Time to Renew Your Membership!

Annual renewal of registration for 2012 starts today! This year, why not try our quick and easy online renewal option?

Benefits of renewing online:

  • It’s fast and easy – with the click of a few buttons your renewal is complete
  • It’s safe – the College uses a secure portal to keep your information safe
  • Save a tree! - The College’s goal is to decrease printing and paper waste. You can assist by renewing online

Follow these ten steps for quick and easy online renewals:

  1. To begin, navigate to the College website at: www.ocswssw.org
  2. Click on the pink “Membership Renewal 2012: Log in in to my profile” button on the right-hand side of your screen;
  3. Read the Terms and Conditions and proceed to the login page;

    Please Note: In order to login, you will need your User ID (your OCSWSSW registration number) and your password. If you have forgotten your password, it may be retrieved by clicking on the “Forgot Your Password” link on the login page. Enter the email address you have provided to the College and an email retaining your password information will be sent to your inbox.

  4. Once you have successfully logged in, go to My Profile to make sure that your personal information is accurate and up-to-date;
  5. You may then click on the “ Renewal Fee Payment” on the left-hand side of your screen;
  6. You will be directed to the “Release of Information from the Register for Research Purposes” screen, where you must indicate whether or not you consent to the release of information for research purposes, then click Continue button;
  7. You must then complete your Declaration of Participation in the 2011 Continuing Competence Program. To continue to the next step, click the Continue
  8. You must then complete the Declaration of Professional Conduct. To continue to the next step, click the Continue button;
  9. You must then complete the Declaration of Compliance. Upon completion, click the I Agree button;
  10. You will then be redirected to the Payment Method Selection and Confirmation page to complete the renewal process. Please choose your payment method, and click the Proceed button to complete the transaction.

If you choose to renew your membership online but do not wish to pay online, you may fill out the required information online and forward your payment by cheque or money order directly to the College.

If you have any questions about the online renewal process, call the College at 416-972-9882 or 1-877-828-9380. Please have your registration number ready when you call. As there is a large volume of inquiries during the renewal period, your call or e-mail will be returned within two business days or as time allows.

Ready to renew online? Click here to log in.

Source: Ontario College of Social Workers & Social Service Workers

Samantha Martin Inquiry Ends

November 5, 2011 permalink

Testimony has ended in the inquiry into the death of Samantha Martin. The judge will report later.

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Martin fatality inquiry comes to an end

Judge will compile results into report

Velvet Martin
Velvet Martin of St. Albert holds a portrait of her daughter Samantha who died in 2006 of heart failure after being in foster care. An inquiry into Samantha's death wrapped up this week.
FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

The fatality inquiry looking into the death of a 13-year-old St. Albert girl ended Friday and will now await a judge report to prevent future deaths.

The inquiry, which ran over several weeks in the spring and sat for three more days this week, was meant to determine what caused the death of Samantha Martin.

Martin was 13 when she collapsed and died from an apparent heart attack in December 2006. While the cardiac arrest was not in dispute, the inquiry is supposed to determine what caused the girl’s cardiac arrest, as well as make recommendations on how to prevent future deaths.

Martin lived in foster care for most of her life. She was born with a rare chromosomal disorder and the government insisted the Martins place her in foster care to receive the necessary medical supports.

She moved back to live with her biological family in the last six months of her life. Velvet Martin, Samantha’s mother, represented herself at the inquiry after several attempts to get government funding for legal counsel were unsuccessful.

Martin argued throughout the inquiry that more needed to be done for children in provincial foster care. In her closing submissions she suggested that Judge M. Carminati include 41 recommendations in her final report.

Those included suggestions of more training for social workers, lower caseloads and accountability measures that would see social workers dismissed if they failed to act on abuse.

She also argued for legislation ensuring children aren’t placed in foster care simply because they have complex medical needs. She said while the department has policies in place that are supposed to protect children, they are not being closely followed.

“The reality is the policies are not being adhered to, with tragic consequences,” Martin said.

Martin argued repeatedly during the inquiry that her daughter’s death was the result of a seizure disorder that went untreated in the foster home, even though it had been highlighted.

She asked Carminati to prohibit the foster family from continuing to care for children and asked to have her daughter’s social worker dismissed. She also asked the judge to require Children’s Services to write a letter of apology and pay for funeral costs when a child dies in care.

Cherisse Killick, who represented the department of Children’s Services, asked only that the judge remember the scope of the inquiry and not attempt to expand it.

“This is not a fatality inquiry into the child welfare system,” Killick argued.

Tom Engel, a lawyer representing the foster family, argued that the medical evidence made it clear the foster family had not contributed to the girl’s death.

“It is clear that the manner and cause of death of Samantha Martin had nothing to with the care she received in the [foster] family,” he said.

Engel’s proposed recommendations include making sure child welfare workers tell guardians about a child’s medical conditions and about treatments that might be necessary.

He also argued that children with Samantha’s rare condition not be left in the care of anyone who is not well educated about the risks of that condition, that in the event of a medical issue with such a child, 911 be called immediately and that eyewitnesses to a death in future fatality inquiries be interviewed.

Samantha’s brother was with her when she stopped breathing, but the medical examiner did not interview him during his review of the file.

Medical mystery

When the inquiry resumed Wednesday it heard testimony from the medical examiner and doctors that treated Samantha in the last days of her life.

Medical examiner Dr. Graeme Dowling said he left the girl’s cause of death as undetermined, because he simply could not conclusively say what caused her death.

“At the end of the day there just wasn’t enough information to say,” he said.

He said the cardiac arrest could have been caused by a seizure disorder or an infection brought about by the girl’s slightly impacted colon.

Dowling said it is rare, but it is possible for a seizure to lead to cardiac arrest.

“It is a medical mystery,” he said. “We don’t know why it happens, but it does happen and we recognize it.”

The court also heard from Dr. Allan De Caen, who first treated Samantha at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. After she initially collapsed, the family brought her to the Sturgeon Community Hospital, but she was quickly transferred to the Stollery.

De Caen said from the moment she arrived it was clear she had undergone significant brain damage.

“Many of the very basic brain reflexes were not present at the time,” she said.

De Caen also had trouble identifying her cause of death. He said he had theories but really no understanding why the young girl died.

“There are many possibilities as to why she became sick and died,” he said.

With the inquiry now concluded, the judge will compile her final report, which will be released publicly. There is no set release date.

Source: St Albert Gazette

Awards

November 5, 2011 permalink

The four Toronto children's aid societies are presenting awards to two heroes who took action against child abuse and neglect. The recipients are TTC bus driver Chris Paulson and Hospital for Sick Children psychiatrist, Dr Johanne Roberge. We know nothing of either. Many psychiatrists are admired by children's aid for facilitating separation of children from their parents, and as an employee of Sick Kids, the doctor may be one of the intellectual heirs of Dr Charles Smith. A bus driver helping a toddler sounds more like a real hero. Why would he tarnish his reputation by accepting an award from professional baby-snatchers?

Fixcas will take the opportunity to salute a real hero who has stepped forward to stop child abuse. Jamie Sullivan had her baby seized without cause by Alberta child protectors. Six days later the baby was dead, killed by the system purporting to protect her. Nothing unusual so far, this happens to lots of Canadian mothers, though usually without the breakneck speed. But Jamie did not remain silent, as the laws of Alberta required. She went public, putting her case on the internet, and participating in a bus tour this summer drawing attention to her case, and that of others. She appears to be in good humor while doing so, though it cannot be easy for her.

Link to our epitaph for Delonna Victoria Sullivan. Jamie's own version of the epitaph is enclosed there. To see Jamie telling Delonna's story, watch the video attached to the article Bullying, Child Abuse, Neglect, Alienation, Kidnap, Murder, or link directly to the video (mp4). Jamie's brief talk starts at 5:01.

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Media Advisory - TTC Bus Driver and Hospital for Sick Children Psychiatrist to be awarded 10th Annual Stand Up for Kids Award

 
Award recognizes local heroes who take action against child abuse and neglect

TORONTO, Nov. 4, 2011 /CNW/ -

WHAT:
Stand Up for Kids Award Presentation The four Toronto Children's Aid Societies (Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Jewish Family & Child and Native Child and Family Services of Toronto) will award their tenth annual Stand Up for Kids Awards to individuals that have shown an exceptional commitment to protecting vulnerable children from abuse and neglect.
WHO:
  • Stand Up for Kids Award recipients, TTC bus driver Chris Paulson and Hospital for Sick Children Psychiatrist, Dr. Johanne Roberge
  • Chris Paulson's alert observation and quick action while driving his route earlier this fall undoubtedly saved a toddler from serious harm
  • Dr. Roberge, Director, Psychiatry Emergency and Crisis Service leads a team of psychiatric professionals that provide prompt response to children and adolescents at risk or in crisis
  • Mary A. McConville, Executive Director, Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto
  • Kenn Richard, Executive Director, Native Child and Family Services of Toronto
  • Howard Hurwitz, Director of Children's Services, Jewish Family & Child
  • David Rivard, Chief Executive Officer, Children's Aid Society of Toronto
WHEN:
Tuesday, November 8th at 10:30-11:30 a.m.
WHERE:
Children's Aid Society of Toronto, 7th Floor Auditorium, 30 Isabella Street

For further information:
RSVP:

Rob Thompson
Children's Aid Society of Toronto
416-924-4640 ext. 2086
rthompson@torontocas.ca
Anne Rappé
Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto
416-395-1506
a.rappe@torontoccas.org

Source: CNW, Canada News Wire

Two stories on the actual awards. The second gives details on the bus driver. No word on whether CAS kept the toddler after driver Cris Paulsen saved his life.

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SickKids psychiatrist honoured by children’s aid societies for protecting children from abuse and neglect

Johanne Roberge and Eric Hoskins
Dr. Johanne Roberge receives her award from the Honorable Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Child and Youth Services, during a ceremony that took place Nov. 8

Dr. Johanne Roberge, Director of the Psychiatry Emergency and Crisis Service at SickKids, has been recognized for her exceptional commitment to protecting vulnerable children from abuse and neglect.

Roberge has received a Stand Up for Kids Award, presented by the four Toronto children's aid societies (Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Jewish Family & Child, and Native Child and Family Services of Toronto). The award was presented last night by the Honorable Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Child and Youth Services, Ontario, during a ceremony at the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto.

During the ceremony, Hoskins highlighted not only the direct clinical services provided by the team at SickKids but also the education and support provided to community partners, including the children’s aid societies of Toronto.

Roberge leads a team of psychiatric professionals that provide prompt response to children and adolescents who may be at risk of hurting themselves or others, or who are in crisis.

Source: Hospital for Sick Children


Children's aid societies honour TTC operator

Last week, three local children’s aid societies awarded the Stand Up for Kids Award to a TTC operator. The award from the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and Jewish Family and Child Services recognizes the driver’s action in protecting a toddler from serious harm.

Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario’s new Minister of Children and Youth Services, presented the award to Chris Paulsen at the head office of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto last Tuesday, November 8.

In September, Paulsen was operating his bus along the 100 Flemington Park route when he spotted a small child, wearing only diapers, walking along a pathway towards a busy street.

“Being a father, I stopped the bus, whipped open the doors and ran back to pick up the child who had walked onto the roadway. I think my passengers, and those at the stop ahead, were wondering where I was going,” Paulsen joked on accepting his award.

Paulsen took the child into his care, called the TTC’s transit control centre to advise dispatchers of the situation and flagged down a police cruiser for help.

“Chris’s keen actions and alertness of his surroundings prevented what could have been a tragic ending to this story. Instead, the outcome is inspiring,” said the chair of the Toronto Transit Commission, Councillor Karen Stintz.

“Chris’s keen actions represent countless employees who, on a daily basis, keep an eye out for their customers and for the community in which they serve. He will be nominated for a monthly Transit Community Watch Award,” said TTC chief general manager Gary Webster.

“Chris made a choice to stand up for kids. He didn’t look the other way,” said David Rivard, chief executive officer of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. “His decision has had an irreplaceable impact on the life of this child.”

Source: Transit Toronto

Birthday Canceled

November 4, 2011 permalink

A Peterborough mother had her baby taken at birth by CAS. At least CAS had enough heart to let mom see her baby on his first birthday. Mother Raven X invited her family and friends to the birthday party on November first. But CAS canceled at the last minute. Reason? Short-staffed by the strike.

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Raven’s story from Peterborough Ontario

19 year old Raven X from Peterborough Ontario was living in a mothering house when C.A.S. took her son from her. For the past year Raven has had to live everyday worried sick about her little boy.

There were never any allegations of Raven abusing children in the past. “CAS came into the delivery room a little over an hour after I had him, and, told me that they were apprehending him because i had nowhere to live and i did not have an income”. As a result of Raven’s baby boy being apprehended she got kicked out of the mothering home because she did not have her little boy with her.

Raven’s case is yet more evidence of how CAS destroys families. Instead of helping this young Mother and giving her the tools to be a good Mom they apprehend the child right away.

“My sons first birthday is today (Nov 1st 2011) and my family and I had planned to make this the best possible birthday even though it was going to be supervised by a CAS worker as all my visits are. I bought him a cake and my mom made her awesome homemade broken up lasanga. We had a lot of presents for him and I had arranged for family members too come in from out of town to see him and celebrate his birthday with us”.

Sadly for Raven and her son the Peterborough CAS called Raven and cancelled the birthday hours before. The reason they gave Raven was there was not enough staff available to accommodate the party because of the strike.

On page 7 of the attached article (Family law education for women) FLEW talks about reasons for an apprehension at birth. “For example, the CAS will likely be concerned for your child’s safety if: you are a teen mom, especially if you were ever in the care of the CAS”. Yes Raven spent most of her childhood in the care of CAS so now this gives them an open door to take her children.

The referenced document is at Family Law Education for Women, or local copy (both pdf).

Source: Chad Wells

party without guests

Anchors Away

November 4, 2011 permalink

When citizenship laws make a parents and children citizens of different countries, the usual practice is to forcibly separate them, leaving the children in foster care. This practice differs from a generation ago, when authorities usually made exceptions to deportation rules to allow parents and children to stay together. Today's reality is quite the opposite of the folk-myth of the anchor baby, a baby born with citizenship that allows a whole family to immigrate.

American investigative journalists at Applied Research Center spent a year producing a report on the separation of parents and children though the collision of immigration and child protection laws. One sample of the treatment of families: when a mother is detained by immigration, she gets no transportation to family court, and the case goes against her by default. A journal type article is enclosed below, you can also read the executive summary or the full report, both pdf.

In case you think Canada is different, here are some recent Canadian cases: Wang, Gao, Terry and Zhang.

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mother and child
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Clara’s eldest kid was 6 years old and her youngest just a year old when it happened. Josefina’s baby was 9 months. All three children were ripped from their mothers and sent to live in foster homes with strangers. Clara and Josefina, sisters in their early 30s who lived together in a small northern New Mexico town, had done nothing to harm their children or to elicit the attention of the child welfare department. Yet one morning last year, their family was shattered when federal immigration authorities detained both sisters. Clara and Josefina were deported four months later. For a year, they had no contact with their children.

The sun was rising on a late summer morning in Farmington. Clara (all parents’ names in this story have been changed) was asleep inside the trailer that she shared with the children and Josefina, who was finishing a night shift at the local restaurant where both sisters worked. Clara says she was jolted awake by the sound of banging and yelling. A group of uniformed officers, some marked with ICE, for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and others DEA, for Drug Enforcement Administration, burst through the door.

The agents put Clara in handcuffs, while two of the officers began walking and carrying the children out of the trailer. Clara pleaded with them, asking what they would do with her children. “We’re taking them where we take all the kids,” Clara remembers one of the agents saying. She begged them to let her call a friend who could come pick up the children. The agents refused.

When Josefina arrived home from work several hours later, ICE officers were waiting. The sisters were locked up in the San Juan County jail, where they stayed for several weeks until ICE transported them to an immigration detention center in Albuquerque, three hours to the south. Their children remained in foster care.

This family is one among thousands who’ve been through the same ordeal. In a yearlong investigation, the Applied Research Center, which publishes Colorlines.com, found that at least 5,100 children whose parents are detained or deported are currently in foster care around the United States. That number represents a conservative estimate of the total, based on extensive surveys of child welfare case workers and attorneys and analysis of national immigration and child welfare trends. Many of the kids may never see their parents again.

These children, many of whom should never have been separated from their parents in the first place, face often insurmountable obstacles to reunifying with their mothers and fathers. Though child welfare departments are required by federal law to reunify children with any parents who are able to provide for the basic safety of their children, detention makes this all but impossible. Then, once parents are deported, families are often separated for long periods. Ultimately, child welfare departments and juvenile courts too often move to terminate the parental rights of deportees and put children up for adoption, rather than attempt to unify the family as they would in other circumstances.

While anecdotal reports have circulated about children lingering in foster care because of a parent’s detention or deportation, our investigation provides the first evidence that the problem occurs on a large scale. If these cases continue mounting at the same pace over the next five years, 15,000 children of detained and deported mothers and fathers will likely be separated from their parents and languish in U.S. foster homes.

Citizen Kids Caught in the Deportation Dragnet

Josefina and Clara’s children are among the hidden victims of an expanding immigration detention and deportation system that now expels nearly 400,000 people each year.

At least 5100 children who are presently in foster care whose parents have been detained or deported

According to Clara and Josefina, the ICE and DEA agents came to their home looking for drugs, but found none. Clara believes a neighbor called in the false report to ICE. A criminal background check confirms that charges against the sisters were dropped and that neither had ever been convicted of any crime. ICE nonetheless detained them because of their undocumented immigration status, moving them from the county jail to the immigration detention center where they were held for three months. They were deported to Mexico in December 2010.

According to over 100 child welfare caseworkers and attorneys we interviewed around the country, as rates of deportations increase, so do the numbers of children from immigrant families in foster care. Indeed, federal data released to the Applied Research Center through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that almost one in four people deported in the last year was the mother or father of a United States citizen. (Next week, Colorlines.com will publish a follow-up story further detailing and explaining this startling data.)

Roberta is one such parent. Almost a year ago, she was arrested on a drunken driving charge that would likely have triggered only a short interruption in her child custody, if she were a citizen. Instead, it threatens to result in the termination of the 35-year-old’s parental rights, because she is an undocumented immigrant and was deported after being charged. Her five young children are now in two different foster homes in Phoenix. Separated from them by the U.S.-Mexico border, Roberta cannot make the journey back to fight for her kids.

ICE detained Roberta after the Phoenix police stopped her one evening as she drove three of her children home from a family party, where Roberta acknowledges she had one beer too many. Police administered a breathalyzer and charged her with driving under the influence and with child endangerment.

“I know I’ve made a mistake, but I’ve never before had a problem and I’ve paid,” Roberta told me in late January 2011, while still at the Eloy Detention Center, a 1,600-bed facility run by the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America. A criminal background check confirms that this was Roberta’s first conviction in her 15 years living in the United States.

Phoenix is one of almost 70 jurisdictions around the country where local police have signed agreements with the federal government to act as immigration agents. The “287(g)” agreement, as the program is called, turns a simple traffic stop into a path to deportation by deputizing local cops as immigration enforcement agents.

Our research found that children in areas where local cops aggressively engage in immigration enforcement are more likely to be separated from their parents and face barriers to reunification. In the counties we surveyed where local police have signed 287(g) agreements with ICE, children in foster care were 29 percent more likely to have a detained or deported parent than in other counties. That disparity remained statistically significant when controlling for the size of the foreign-born population.

In Roberta’s case, as the police officer arrested her, he called the county Child Protective Services, which came quickly to the side of the road and took the children away. The agency placed them in what were supposed to be temporary foster homes, until Roberta could get out of jail.

But she was not released—not until she was deported, without her children.

A Morally Corrupted System

Local immigration enforcement is metastasizing through initiatives like the 287(g) agreements and, most significantly, through a controversial program called Secure Communities, which allows ICE access to data on every person booked into a county jail. As the federal government shifts its deportation tactics away from high-profile workplace raids and toward enforcement that’s silently tied to the day-to-day functions of local police departments, a growing number of long-time residents with families and deep ties to the U.S. are deported. The program is turning jurisdictions around the country into deportation hotspots. We have identified at least 22 states where children in foster care face barriers to reunifying with their detained or deported mothers and fathers.

States Where ARC Identified Detained/Deported Foster Parent Cases

Whatever the state of the debate, or rancor, over who should and should not be allowed to live in the U.S., the moral and bureaucratic fallout of deporting 400,000 people a year are accumulating to toxic levels. Child welfare caseworkers say that in the face of an opaque detention system, they are helpless to reunify families. And although federal law requires child welfare departments to make diligent efforts toward family reunification, when parents are detained that’s basically impossible.

In Los Angeles, where according to our research, the mother or father of approximately one in every 16 children in foster care has been detained or deported, a caseworker for the country described the frustration. “Ultimately, as social workers our role is to reunify families. I’m not saying that ICE is right or wrong; what I’m saying is, let us do our job, let us reunify families.”

An immigration enforcement system that operates anything like the one we have will run roughshod over most everything.

Some of the most unsettling cases that our research has uncovered involve children who entered foster care when local police arrested non-citizen mothers after they or neighbors called 911 to report domestic violence.

Hilaria, of Phoenix, was arrested because she tried to defend herself against her abusive husband. One day in October 2010, he began berating her and threatening her. In minutes, the words escalated into hitting and choking. Hilaria fought back, freeing herself from the man and running to the kitchen, where she says she picked up a screwdriver and threw it at him, drawing blood.

A neighbor heard screaming and called the police. When the cops arrived, Hilaria’s husband told them that she attacked him and, as is too often the case in domestic violence reports, the officers arrested Hilaria for assault. Because their children were home at the time, the police called Child Protective Services. But when the officers and Hilaria’s abuser told the CPS worker that Hilaria had been the assailant, the caseworker left the children with him. Two weeks later, the child welfare department returned to check on the children. The caseworker now suspected that Hilaria’s husband was using drugs and removed the children from him, placing them in foster care.

Two months later, Hilaria sat on a plastic chair in a small detention center visitation room, speaking through tears. “I’ve had domestic violence before, but I took it for my kids,” she said. “Now they’ve robbed me. I did what I did to defend myself and my kids.”

Hilaria is now applying for a reprieve from deportation, which is available to some victims of domestic violence. But because of the charge of assault against her, it’s not clear the government will grant her a visa—she violates a zero-tolerance policy against “criminal” immigrants. The Obama administration recently announced that it would review the deportation cases of all 300,000 people slated for removal. The policy change, which is designed to stop the deportations of people brought to the U.S. as children and other target populations, does not appear to have helped even those like Hilaria. One year after her arrest, Hilaria is still detained. Her children are still in foster care.

The Abyss of Detention

Four months after Roberta lost her children, she also sat in detention center visitation room, sifting through crinkled papers in a bulging folder to find a photo of two of her children. “It has been four months since I’ve talked to my kids,” she said, looking at the photo of her then 7-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. The children stood shoulder to shoulder, smiling at the camera in front of a graffiti-scrawled wall near the family’s Phoenix apartment. The boy wore camouflage pants and the girl a pink shirt.

“I would rather die than lose my kids,” Roberta said, tears running down her round face.

“They treat us like animals here,” she complained of the barbed-wire ridged jail in Arizona’s basin cotton fields. According to Roberta, women inmates were given unwashed underwear and detainees were fed stale bread and dirty vegetables for their two meals a day. “But the worst,” said Roberta, echoing the sentiments of other detained parents, “is that I can’t see my kids.”

Three weeks after ICE detained Roberta, the juvenile court held a hearing about her family. Roberta, however, did not know about it. Neither her court appointed attorney nor the child welfare caseworkers or attorneys contacted her.

All of the parents with children in Child Protective Services custody whom we interviewed inside six detention centers said that they missed at least one of their juvenile court hearings. From detention, they could not access the courts and their attorneys could not find them.

ICE is not by law required to detain many of those it plans to deport, but it keeps non-citizens locked up to prevent them from absconding. A parent whose singular concern is getting her kids back is scarcely a flight risk. ICE nonetheless takes confinement to an extreme. Even when parents know about their juvenile court hearings, ICE categorically refuses to transport them to juvenile court hearings where vital decisions about their families are made. In hundreds of interviews with attorneys and caseworkers, not one had ever seen a detained parent appear in person at a hearing. Some detainees are not even able to arrange to phone into the hearings.

Unsurprisingly for a system in which about 85 percent of detainees lack legal representation and can be held for months, sometimes years, in squalid conditions, ICE functions without any obligation to the legal needs of the people it detains. And juvenile court judges are powerless to compel ICE to do anything.

“Parents [should] have an absolute right to be present in a court hearing,” a juvenile court judge in Pima County, Ariz., told us, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “We order that if they are in custody they appear, but these orders are not honored by the detention facilities. We don’t have the authority over the federal centers.”

A month after she was initially detained, Roberta was finally able to contact her court appointed attorney by phone. But the attorney spoke no Spanish and they could not communicate. Roberta still arranged to call in to the next court hearing, but she says that because of a bad phone connection over the detention center phone, she understood nothing uttered in the courtroom.

Without any specific policy for addressing the needs of detained parents, child welfare agencies often treat them as if they’ve abandoned their children. And so, after several months in detention and no contact with her children, Roberta says she got a letter in the mail. “All [the court] sent me was a Spanish sheet with threats,” she said. “If you don’t appear, you’ll lose kids. That’s all it said.”

There was also little chance she could have complied with the child welfare department’s overall plan for family reunification. Detention centers provide parents no access to the services and programs needed to take part in their case plans for reunification, which for her would have consisted of treatment for alcohol abuse, parenting classes and visitation with her children.

Detainees are transferred an average of 370 miles from their homes

Because detainees are often moved to detention centers far away from their homes—an average of 370 miles—they can rarely see their children. Though the Obama administration has said that it plans to overhaul immigration detention practices, including making efforts to detain non-citizens closer to their homes, as of August 2011, this promise did not appear to have taken effect in any significant way.

Parental Rights End at the Border

Josefina and Clara were deported to Mexico after three months in immigration detention. They made their way to Michoacán, 1,000 miles south of the border, to their mother’s home, where they began trying to regain custody of their children.

During a July 2011 phone interview from Michoacán, Josefina spoke quietly about the baby she never got to bid goodbye. “I don’t know where my child is, I have no contact with my baby,” she said. “I didn’t do anything wrong to have my children taken away from me. I didn’t steal, I didn’t do drugs, nothing. Why did they take my children?”

Once parents are deported, the threats to their families grow. While parents are detained, child welfare departments are largely prostrate to reunify families. Once mothers and fathers are deported, however, the agencies often switch gears, actively slowing down the reunification process and sometimes halting those efforts altogether.

Soon after they were deported, the sisters contacted the Mexican consulate in New Mexico to ask for help in regaining their parental rights. The consulate began corresponding with the child welfare department on the sisters’ behalf. For months after their deportation, a staff person at the consulate repeatedly told Clara and Josefina that the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department planned to reunify the family as soon as the sisters could prove that they had stable housing and jobs. Yet, even after they found work and were set up in their mother’s home, the children remained in foster care. Reunification dates cited by the department came and went, but still, no children.

According to the sisters, the New Mexico child welfare department would not let the mothers speak by phone with the youngest two of the three children and Clara spoke only once to her 6 year old. According to Josefina and Clara, they heard word that their children were placed in three different foster homes and the babies were being raised entirely in English. They feared their children would not remember them even if they were reunified and they began to believe they might never see their children again.

“I miss everything about my kids,” said Clara through sobs over the phone. “How I spent Saturday and Sundays with them, how I made my home with them, all of it. Then my children were just gone.”

Many deported parents make the tormented decision to make the bloody desert journey over the U.S.-Mexico border without papers so that they can be present at juvenile court hearings. Caseworkers around the country said that in many cases, when a parent of a foster child is deported, they are back weeks later to appear in a juvenile courtroom to try and reclaim their children.

The risks of crossing are enormous. In addition to growing violence in Mexico against migrants crossing into the U.S., immigrants caught in the country after a previous deportation now face prison time. Until recently, immigrants who were deported before were simply deported again. Now, “illegal reentry” is treated as a federal criminal offense that carries sentences of years. The charge now accounts for nearly half of all federal criminal prosecutions.

Clara and Josefina did not risk crossing back over the border; the fear of violence on the border or of extended incarceration was too great. So for a year, they waited, in fear their parental rights would be terminated.

In late September 2011, their hope dwindling, the Mexican consulate in New Mexico phoned the sisters at their mother’s house in Michoacán. “They told us to go to the airport the next day,” said Clara.

In the morning they drove three hours to the airport. Two employees of the Mexican government escorted the three children off the plane. In the middle of a waiting room at the airport, after 14 months apart, Josefina and Clara took the children into their arms.

The next day, now back at their mother’s home with the sounds of pouring rain in the background, Clara said over the phone, “It hurts me so much to talk about this. I don’t want to remember anymore.” Now the family will try to piece themselves back together.

For many, however, separation is not memory. It is a present horror. In July, after seven months of detention, Roberta was deported to Mexico. She was given no notice before she was loaded onto an ICE bus and dropped at the border. ICE did not give her time to call her children’s caseworker or her court-appointed attorney before her removal and she arrived in Mexico with nothing but $10, given to her by another deportee.

Deportation too often leads to the seamless termination of parental rights. In jurisdictions around the country, child welfare departments and children’s attorneys have successfully argued that it is in a child’s best interest to remain in the U.S. rather than join their parents in another country. Though child welfare departments are required by law to try to reunify children with their parents, and research shows that children fare better with their families than in foster care, the principal is often quashed when a border stands in the way.

Many caseworkers and attorneys noted to us a pervasive bias against placing children in another country. “When you break down the cases, placement with parents in Mexico happens very rarely,” an attorney who represents children and parents in El Paso, Texas, told us. “The knee-jerk reaction of almost everyone is that the children are better off in U.S.”

As a parents’ attorney in Takoma, Wash., said in describing several cases like Roberta’s, “They’re deported and they’re treated like they fall off the face of the earth.”

Some jurisdictions, especially those near the U.S.-Mexico border, are working to interrupt this rapid move to sever families. In San Diego County, Calif., and El Paso County, Texas, for example, the child welfare departments have established international liaisons who work with the Mexican consulate and Mexican child welfare department to place children with their families in Mexico. Without the consulate, Clara and Josefina would still be without their children.

Yet most countries lack any formal policy for deported parents and ultimately, when parents are detained and deported, families are shattered.

In the detention center, before she was deported, Roberta looked up from the photo of her children and stated a policy that many would think is common sense. “If you send the mom to Mexico,” she said, “let her take her kids with her.” It has now been one year since she lost custody of her children. Her family’s status remains in limbo.

Source: Colorlines

immigration badge and child protection file

Girl Starved

November 3, 2011 permalink

Nova Scotia foster mother Susan Elizabeth MacDonnell used the oldest method of profiting from foster care — collecting foster payments while not feeding the child. A two-year-old girl in her care was hospitalized and nearly died of malnutrition. The scheme is right out of Charles Dickens.

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N.S. foster mom admits to starving child

Elizabeth Susan MacDonnell
Elizabeth Susan MacDonnell and her husband leave Nova Scotia Supreme Court Thursday.
CBC

A Dartmouth, N.S., foster mother pleaded guilty Thursday to aggravated assault and failing to provide the necessities of life by denying food to her two-year-old foster daughter.

Susan Elizabeth MacDonnell, 43, was first charged in June 2010 with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, as well as the other two charges after the foster child became more ill while being treated at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.

Crown attorney Catherine Cogswell told the court Thursday that the little girl nearly died after being hospitalized due to malnutrition.

The Crown will be seeking a five-year jail term when MacDonnell is sentenced on March 1. She is free on bail until then.

The criminal acts took place over a two-month period beginning in February 2010, after the little girl was hospitalized with dehydration and malnutrition.

Cogswell said the child, who has special needs, is doing well, but medical staff at the IWK Health Centre suspected wrongdoing when the child was slow to recover.

"The allegations of the Crown are that the child almost died as a result of being deprived of food for a lengthy period of time," she said.

At an earlier bail hearing, the Crown said MacDonnell admitted to disconnecting the child's feeding tube in the hospital, and to diluting a high glucose formula at least six times.

A psychiatric examination found the mother fit to stand trial. Defense lawyer, Jean Morris, has asked for a pre-sentence report to try and reduce the five-year jail term the Crown is seeking.

"Ms. MacDonnell has no criminal record. This is her first offense. That being said, these are very serious and egregious offenses. That's why we are looking at what we perceive as a lengthy period of incarceration," Cogswell said.

Other foster children in MacDonnell's household were also removed by the Department of Community Services.

Source: CBC

Addendum: On January 11, 2013 Susan MacDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison.

CAS Worker Killed

November 3, 2011 permalink

Lennox & Addington CAS worker Rebecca McColman has been killed in a traffic accident. No connection has been shown between her work and the accident — it appears here as a matter of record only. Her career included jobs with three different children's aid societies, but no children of her own.

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Rebecca McColman

Napanee woman killed in Highway 401 crash

Rebecca McColman is being remembered as a lovely, loving, compassionate woman, whose personality and charm garnered her friends everywhere she went.

The 35-year-old Napanee woman was killed when the Toyota Yaris she was driving slammed into the back of a large truck at about 5:25 p.m. on Tuesday.

According to initial reports from the Frontenac OPP, traffic along Highway 401 had been stopped for some reason in the westbound lanes near Westbrook, and McColman slid into the truck, which had stopped.

The westbound lanes of the highway were closed for several hours to allow the OPP's collision reconstruction team to investigate the scene.

The driver of the truck was not injured.

McColman worked for Lennox & Addington Family and Children's Services for the past few years.

Her boss, LAFACS executive director Greg Moon, said her death was "a huge shock and tragic loss to those who had the privilege of knowing Rebecca. We'll feel the loss for some time.

"She was one of our resource workers. Her primary responsibility was recruitment of foster parents, and she just brought in a huge amount of passion to her work," he continued.

"She was full of good ideas and tons of energy to make those good ideas happen. This is somebody who brought a positive atmosphere to their work every day, and she would radiate that positive energy, and others would feed off it."

Moon said she had dedicated her professional life to child welfare. She worked with the Hastings County Children's Aid Society before coming to L&A County, and before that was with the Prince Edward County CAS.

"She had a real heart for it. She lived and breathed the work. A week would hardly go by without Rebecca in my office with an idea about something we might do to get the word out about the need for more foster families, or ways to support the families that we are working with."

Moon said that McColman performed the welcoming prayer at a foster parent recognition event held in town just two weeks ago.

She was a woman of prayer and deep faith, attending Verona Free Methodist Church for a time before moving on to worship with husband Tyler at a Napanee church.

"She was just a joyful person. She was a comfort to everyone around her. She was such a happy-go-lucky person. She was an excellent singer and a lovely girl," said an official with the Verona church who did not want their name published.

She added that McColman was of great comfort to her mom, Kathy Phillips, who lost her husband to cancer last year.

Now she has lost the person who offered her the most comfort.

McColman was the daughter-in-law of Kingston radio station owner Garry 'Big G' McColman, who owns K-Rock, 102.7 The Lake and KIX 93.5.

"It's very sad here. We would eat lunch all the time, and I just worked with Rebecca ... and I met her dad and husband. So, yeah, it's tough," said a co-worker at LAFACS.

"She was a very positive, bubbly person and very well liked."

The McColmans had no children.

Frontenac OPP are continuing to investigate the crash.

Anyone with information is asked to call Const. Gallant at 613-372-1932.

Source: Napanee Guide

Foster Orgy

November 3, 2011 permalink

A Bloomfield Ontario (Quinte area) couple turned their foster home for teenagers into a sex party. The couple will spend seven man-years behind bars, the same as Douglas Klasges ( link1 link2 link3 ), though their offenses seem less serious.

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Ontario foster parents jailed for sex offences

PICTON, Ont. — A Bloomfield, Ont., couple who turned their home into a “sexual cult” while fostering 25 teenagers over the course of three years will spend a total of seven years in prison.

The couple — who cannot be named under a publication ban — pleaded guilty to several charges including possession of child pornography, sexual assault and invitation to sexual touching earlier this fall and were sentenced in the Ontario court of justice Tuesday.

In an agreed statement of facts, court heard the teens fostered by the couple were often involved in parties with the couple that featured sexual activities, consumption of alcohol and exchanging of sexual toys as gifts. Girls as young as 15 were encouraged to practice oral sex on wine bottle necks and the husband would sometimes grab the girls’ breasts.

Crown attorney Jodi Whyte, in reading the facts, said one teen called the home a “sexual cult” where there were no boundaries. The victims, she added, were subjected to a “cult like” atmosphere and were “manipulated” to the benefit of the couple.

John Ecclestone, who represented the wife, told the court there is no doubt the home fostered inappropriate sexual boundaries but also argued “it could have been very, very much worse than it was.” He noted there was no violence in the home and no “ongoing rape or buggery.”

“It’s not as if we’re talking about someone who was seven-years-old,” Ecclestone said.

Though Judge Geoff Griffin agreed there is a difference, he pointed out the law is the law and the couple, without question, committed offences and used their positions of authority and trust over the children.

In delivering his sentence, Griffin said he would take into account both accused entered guilty pleas but admitted his decision was hard to formulate.

Griffin said the pair breached their positions of trust and welcomed the children into their home and used them for their own joy and sexual satisfaction. These children had been placed in their home by the Children’s Aid Society as “vulnerable” youth, some of whom had come from homes where they had been sexually assaulted, he said.

Griffin also questioned the CAS’s apparent ignorance to what was taking place at the home. He said in a small community such as Prince Edward County, it is difficult to believe no one knew what was taking place.

“I hope the public demands there be an inquiry into what took place at the home,” Griffin said.

The 48-year-old woman will serve three years in prison. She was ordered to provide a DNA sample and will be included in the Sex Offender Registry. In addition, any photographs or videos she has featuring any of the foster children — whether pornographic in nature or not — will be handed over to the Crown.

Her 45-year-old husband received a sentence of four years in prison. Like his wife, he is now included on the Sex Offender Registry and had to provide a DNA sample. In addition, he has a 10-year weapons prohibition.

Source: Toronto Sun

Addendum: An editorial in the Belleville Intelligencer names the foster parents as Joe and Janet Turner Holm. The judge in the case, Geoff Griffin, has asked for the one thing certain not to happen: a public inquiry into the case. CAS will stonewall citing confidentiality, and the public will never know whether this was a case of trifling sex-play or repeated rape.

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Griffin gets it right in call for inquiry

In a court system where judges are often burdened by too many cases, questionable precedents, odd sentencing protocols and an apparent "fast food" approach to justice, it is heartening to know those on the bench can still provide wisdom and insight.

Such was the case Wednesday when Justice Geoff Griffin sentenced a Bloomfield couple who had turned their home into a "sexual cult" while fostering 25 teenagers over the course of nine years.

Joe and Janet Holm plead guilty to several charges including possession of child pornography, sexual assault and invitation to sexual touching earlier this fall.

Janet, 48, will serve three years in prison while Joe, 45, received a sentence of four years in prison. Both are also included on the Sex Offender Registry and had to provide a DNA sample.

While some might argue those terms are too short, Griffin, in delivering his sentence, acknowledged taking into account both accused entered guilty pleas. He also admitted his decision was hard to formulate.

"The difficulty I have is showing restraint," Griffin said. "What took place here is so outrageous that it boggles the mind. This is so troubling that it becomes difficult to put into words how horrendous it is."

More importantly, Griffin also questioned the Children's Aid Society's apparent ignorance to what was taking place at the home. He said in a small community such as Prince Edward County it is difficult to believe no one knew what was taking place.

"This happened here in Prince Edward County. I hope the public demands there be an inquiry into what took place at the home," Griffin said.

Children's Aid Societies everywhere face incredible challenges when it comes to both fostering and adopting of children, namely too many children and too few resources, both financial and in terms of people willing to take on the task of raising children.

That being said, CAS has a responsibility to the children involved and society as a whole to be constantly vigilant in ensuring the children placed in their care are not put in harm's way by those entrusted to care for them.

To do so not only endangers those children specifically, it discredits the system generally, risking the lives of those who might shun entering the system at all as well as discouraging others who might otherwise step forward to foster or adopt.

Griffin is absolutely right that this situation requires an inquiry to find out how such a horrendous crime could be allowed to take place and to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Our trust in CAS and the future of too many children absolutely demand it.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Nazi-Occupied Ontario

November 2, 2011 permalink

A refugee from Nazi-occupied Holland recently saw the same abuse committed by CAS social workers.

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Aida Wilson I went to see my 82-year-old mom yesterday at the hospital. She has had a stroke. She has five great-grandchildren. Two have been taken by the dad and with the help of CAS Simcoe. They now do not see our side of the family at all. My mother went to a supervised visit at an access centre — my daughter had her 4-hour visit with them. When it was over the children's aid worker came and took the children away. My mother started crying when she told me this. She said it was the way they took them away — the worker walked down the hall with one child on each side of her. She held them closely to her side. They could not even have turned around to say goodbye if they had wanted to. My mother was very upset with tears running down her face as she told me this: She said the (so-called social) worker looked like an SS officer and then looked at me in shock because she realized she just referred to them as something she has not witnessed for over 40 years (She lived in Holland during the second world war). I said: "It's ok mom, I hear you, and I can imagine how horrible this must be for you as well. She cried, my heart is broken. She will probably never see her great-grandchildren again because children's aid, from what I have witnessed, just simply does not give a damn about families or extended families. I said: Mom there are a lot of us out there trying to do something to get accountability, there really are. She asked with an angry look in her eyes: Why is Canada allowing this to happen to their children? What did we come here for??

Source: Facebook

child abduction

Father Threatens Police and Social Workers

November 2, 2011 permalink

Indiana father Ralph David Peters threatened police and social workers after they took away his newborn baby.

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Police: Man makes threats, offers bribe

A Greenwood man was arrested after telling police and child protective workers they’d be killed for temporarily taking his baby during a family dispute.

The man also offered police $1,000 to let him out of the patrol car, according to a Greenwood police report.

Ralph David Peters, 42, was arrested on two charges of bribery and a charge of intimidation.

Police were called to a Greenwood home Monday because of a family dispute. Peters, his wife and his sister had a heated argument, the report said.

When officers learned that Peters and his wife needed to leave the home, where they did not live, and had no jobs, nowhere to go, and no one would come pick them up, they called child protective services.

A worker from that agency decided their 2-week-old baby would need to stay with a relative until they had jobs and a place to live.

Peters told police that he is an outlaw, and if they took his baby, he would call other outlaws and implied that officers would be hurt, the report said.

He was arrested and, during the trip to the Johnson County jail, told an officer that he would be dead soon, the report said. When the officer asked him what he meant, Peters said: “The police, (child protective workers) you all have to die sometime, and I’m just saying you’re going to die real soon,” the report said.

Peters also offered the officer $1,000 let him out of the car, the report said.

Peters was being held Tuesday at the jail on $14,000 bond.

Source: Daily Journal

Family Judge Sets Example

November 2, 2011 permalink

A video posted to YouTube shows Texas family judge William Adams beating his own teenaged daughter with a belt. The incident occurred in 2004 when she was sixteen years old. The daughter, Hillary Adams, posted it to block the judge's reelection next week.

The video is on YouTube and a local copy (mp4). The YouTube blurb is immediately below. An enclosed article from Forbes gives the circumstances, and assures us the video is not a hoax.

Uploaded by shoehedgie on Oct 27, 2011

2004: Aransas County Court-At-Law Judge William Adams took a belt to his own teenage daughter as punishment for using the internet to acquire music and games that were unavailable for legal purchase at the time. She has had ataxic cerebral palsy from birth that led her to a passion for technology, which was strictly forbidden by her father's backwards views. The judge's wife was emotionally abused herself and was severely manipulated into assisting the beating and should not be blamed for any content in this video. The judge's wife has since left the marriage due to the abuse, which continues to this day, and has sincerely apologized and repented for her part and for allowing such a thing, long before this video was even revealed to exist. Judge William Adams is not fit to be anywhere near the law system if he can't even exercise fit judgement as a parent himself. Do not allow this man to ever be re-elected again. His "judgement" is a giant farce.

Signed, Hillary Adams, his daughter.

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On Judge William Adams Beating His Daughter and Internet Revenge

Hillary Adams
Hillary Adams posted a video she made in 2004 of her father beating her with a belt

They say revenge is best served cold. In the case of Hillary Adams, a Texas woman who recently posted a very disturbing video of her father violently beating her, the revenge nearly has freezer burn.

The video was made in 2004. She posted it last week on YouTube explaining that her father “took a belt to his own teenage daughter as punishment for using the internet to acquire music and games that were unavailable for legal purchase at the time.” Her father is not just your average Texan. William Adams is a public figure, an Aransas County Court-at-Law judge. The video went viral after she posted it to Reddit, a site where users would be especially sympathetic to a judge’s corporal punishment for illegal downloading. Redditors launched a vigilante campaign, posting numbers for local law enforcement and media outlets (as well as pranking the judge by ordering pizzas to his home). From there, the video gained national attention within a day, from blogs as well as local media in Texas. The sheriff’s office is now launching an investigation.

Did I mention that the video is seven years old? Why post it now?

Well, Judge William Adams holds an elected office, and his daughter would prefer he not hold it. “Judge William Adams is not fit to be anywhere near the law system if he can’t even exercise fit judgement as a parent himself,” she writes in the description of her video. “Do not allow this man to ever be re-elected again.”

A viral video of your beating your daughter with a belt has to be even worse for an office-holder than naked photos of what’s below that belt. Someone has already created a “Don’t Re-Elect Judge William Adams” Facebook page, which has attracted thousands of fans. Sorry, Facebookers. Aransas County does have an election coming up next week, but Adams’s term is not up this time around. He’s not up for re-election until three years from now, the county clerk’s office tells me. Of course, the public attention to this could well lead to his stepping down, though he tells a local news affiliate that the incident “happened years ago,” that he “apologized,” and that “it’s not as bad as it looks on tape.”

It does look pretty bad, especially to someone who grew up in a household that frowned even on spanking. (The video makes me wonder if other children who suffer violence at home could use the tool of public shame to help them, or if this one caught on solely because it involved a public figure.)

The power of video here is fairly incredible. Had Hillary Adams, now in her 20s, suddenly stepped forward and said her father beat her as a child, it likely wouldn’t get much traction. But the video places the incident in the here and now, almost making the seven years that have elapsed insignificant. Adams surely couldn’t have imagined that a punishment of his daughter in the privacy of his home could come back to haunt him professionally years later.

Update: Adams is now tweeting that she feels “some regret” for publishing the video and ruining her father.

The delay in publishing the video reminded me of a story I wrote about a year ago that involved a Harvard Law student who discussed in a private e-mail the possibility that intelligence is linked to genetics, and thus race. Her then-friend saved that email (as most of us do), and a year later, when their friendship soured, sent the email out to a few people, including a member of Harvard’s Black Student Association. As with Hillary Adams, the Harvard frenemy knew the right audience to take her smoking gun to in order to ensure it get widespread attention. The e-mail very quickly went viral, and the law student’s name will probably be linked to “racist” in Google search results for the rest of her life.

Of course, as Herman Cain could well attest, it’s always been the case for high-profile people such as presidential candidates to have things from their past come back to haunt them, even without any digital evidence. But that’s because these folks are at the center of tons of media attention. Now, even if you’re not a media figure, the past can come back at you fast and furious if there’s a video, recording, or email that can easily be passed around online.

Source: Forbes

Addendum: The most pathetic headline on this story is: Dad caught on video beating daughter 'needs help'. It's right out of the enclosed social worker joke.

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Two social workers were walking through a rough part of the city in the evening. They heard moans and muted cries for help from a back lane. Upon investigation, they found a semi-conscious man in a pool of blood. "Help me, I've been mugged and viciously beaten" he pleaded.

The two social workers turned and walked away. One remarked to her colleague: "You know the person that did this really needs help."

Addendum: The judge is reinstated a year later.

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Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge Adams reinstated

Court lifts suspension after investigation of child beating video

William Adams
MICHAEL ZAMORA/CALLER-TIMES ARCHIVE The Texas Supreme Court lifted the suspension of Aransas County Court-at-Law Judge William Adams. He was suspended last November following release of a video showing him beating his daughter. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued him a public warning.
Photo by Michael Zamora, Corpus Christi Caller-Times

ARANSAS COUNTY — The Texas Supreme Court on Tuesday lifted the suspension of the judge whose video-recorded beating of his daughter focused uproar on Aransas County a year ago.

William Adams, who as a family law judge hears child abuse cases, went on paid suspension in November after his daughter uploaded a secretly recorded YouTube video showing the judge whipping her with a belt seven years earlier, when she was 16.

The video depicts the judge and, at one point, the girl’s mother, striking her more than a dozen times while issuing an obscenity-laced tirade and threats of further harm.

Adams agreed to a paid suspension while the State Commission on Judicial Conduct investigated. Judicial suspensions typically are lifted soon after the commission issues a censure, unless the censure includes a recommendation that the judge be removed from the bench.

In September, the commission issued a public warning to Adams, finding the video cast doubt on his ability to be impartial. It also warned the judge against a pattern of demeaning behavior toward attorneys in his court.

Adams has not commented on the warning and he could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

It is unclear when Adams will return to the bench. At the Aransas County courthouse, officials have prepared for his return by beefing up security. In the days after the video went viral, county offices were besieged by hundreds of phone calls and emails, many of them threatening, urging the county to dismiss the judge. But under state law, county officials have no control over the employment and little control over the salary of an elected judge. Adams’ term runs through 2014. He has received about a year’s salary and allowances while on suspension, roughly $150,000.

Another major change when Adams returns: He won’t be hearing some cases brought by the Texas Department of Family and Protective services, which investigates allegations of child abuse.

Agency Commissioner Howard Baldwin told County Attorney Richard Bianchi in a letter that the department does not believe Adams can serve in the best interest of children and parents in abuse or neglect cases. Baldwin initially asked that all of the agency’s cases be shifted to a district court.

Bianchi said the agency since has modified its request to apply only to cases involving violence with children. Those cases will be filed in district court, Bianchi said. The agency has indicated its lawyers will try to move similar cases now in Adams’ court to a district court, he said.

Of 15 local attorneys who practiced in Adams’ court and who testified before the Commission on Judicial Conduct, six said he could no longer be effective because the video created the public perception that he could not be fair in cases of family violence, child abuse or assault. Another six supported his return to the bench and, according to the commission, all 15 praised Adams for his fairness, impartiality and knowledge of the law.

Lawyers also told the commission it’s likely criminal defense attorneys would file motions to recuse the judge if he returns to the bench. That potentially could slow the progress of court cases.

A public sanction of any kind is unusual. More than 4,000 complaints against judges were filed with the commission from 2008 to 2011, and 73 public sanctions were issued. A warning is one step short of a reprimand, which would have prevented Adams from serving as a visiting judge after he retires, denying a lasting source of income.

Although police and prosecutors reviewed the Adams video, they did not pursue criminal charges, citing statutes of limitation.

Adams has downplayed the video as a ploy by a conniving ex-wife embroiled in a custody battle and a vengeful daughter cut off from his finances. He said they capitalized on him losing his temper after his daughter illegally downloaded music. The daughter, Hillary Adams, and her mother, Hallie Adams, have reconciled and said they hoped the video would force the judge to confront an abusive past.

Hallie Adams continues her efforts to have the judge sanctioned. She has delivered her own complaints to the Commission on Judicial Conduct, saying his behavior during and after their marriage shows he is unfit to be a judge. The couple remains in a legal dispute over their youngest daughter.

Source: Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Addendum: When voters got their say in 2014 judge Adams was removed.

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ROCKPORT — A South Texas family law judge seen beating his then-16-year-old daughter in a video she posted online in 2011 has lost his re-election bid.

Unofficial returns show Aransas County voters on Tuesday rejected William Adams in the Republican primary.

The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports County Attorney Richard Bianchi joins the bench in January. No Democrats challenged Adams, who sought a fourth full term.

The video shows Adams lashing his daughter. Hillary Adams has said she released the video, which she secretly taped in 2004, to compel her father to get help and show he's unfit as a judge. She said the beating happened after she illegally downloaded files from the Internet.

William Adams was suspended for a year. The Texas Supreme Court in November 2012 lifted his suspension.

Source: Fort Bend Herald

Schools Endanger Children

November 2, 2011 permalink

Canada Court Watch has posted an article by Chad Wells Massive violations to the rights of children by children's Aid (local copy, pdf). See how schools, without legal compulsion, and in some cases in defiance of the law, cooperate to humiliate and endanger children during their time in school.

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