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Oversight and Accountability for CAS

June 30, 2012 permalink

The Belleville Intelligencer has published an article on children's aid by Curtis Kingston of Canada Court Watch. The same article appeared shortly after in the CK Review.



CAS desperately needs oversight, accountability

In recent times there has been a lot of public scrutiny and publicity on the massive breakdowns of the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society.

Because of this, the public has started to learn about some of the serious issues that we as Ontarians are facing in regards to our child welfare system.

In Prince Edward County in the past year alone, there have been four foster parents charged— three convicted — of sex crimes against children in their care; there are now reports of yet another county foster parent that may be charged in the near future.

During this time, the PEC CAS has sounded as though it is just as angry and shares the same disgust on this issue as the rest of the community does.

In an article in The Intelligencer just last year, after Joe and Janet Holm were convicted of crimes against children, former executive director of the Hastings CAS, Len Kennedy, stated this was one isolated incident and should not reflect all foster parents or the capability of a Children’s Aid Society to prevent these atrocities from happening.

The problem with this article was the fact other foster parents had committed similar crimes in the same town.

The case that has been most publicized recently that is still under a publication ban involves a man in the County charged with sex crimes against three girls in his care; he was convicted for crimes against two of them.

In this case, one of the victims reportedly had come forward in 2004 yet the CAS kept this girl in the care of this foster parent for years where she continued to be sexually abused.

It was not until 2009 — after the girl reportedly complained multiple times and after two other girls made complaints — was the man finally charged and eventually convicted.

So at the same time this “One bad apple shouldn’t tarnish all foster parents” article was published, there was already another foster parent in the same town charged with similar crimes.

After this man was finally convicted, another article in The Intelligencer quoted a statement from executive director of the Prince Edward County CAS, Bill Sweet, nearly almost identical to the statement Kennedy made less than one year earlier.

The difference this time though is that now it is confirmed that this is not just “one bad apple.”

According to the Ontario Pediatric Death Review Committee, on average in Ontario, more than 100 innocent children die in the “care” of the Children’s Aid Societies every year.

This is outrageous and there should be proper investigations and inquiries into each of these deaths. Yet, without oversight of and accountability by Children's Aid Societies, we have no way of knowing if investigations are even being held, much less if they are discovering issues that are costing children their lives.

Contrary to common belief, Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario are not government agencies at all, but rather private corporations much like companies like Ornge that receive all of their funding from the government.

That funding is significant: 47 Children’s Aid Societies in the province of Ontario consume 1.4 billion of our hard earned tax dollars every year — with no oversight or accountability.

And that is the issue: not that they are not government agencies, but rather the lack of oversight and accountability.

Don’t get me wrong, I do in fact believe this province needs child protection and there are a lot of good foster parents and CAS workers that do help children in need.

The problem is that because of the lack of accountability and oversight, these good stories and good workers are too often overshadowed by other CAS workers and foster parents who are not in it for the children.

Right now, there is a bill that has been put forward to the Ontario Legislative Assembly (Bill 110) that would allow our Ombudsman the authority to investigate complaints about Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario just as he investigates complaints about other organizations.

Ontario is currently the only province in Canada where the Ombudsman is not authorized to investigate child welfare and this bill, if passed would give child welfare in Ontario the same accountability as every other province in our country.

I encourage every member of the public to please meet with and/or write letters to their local MPPs to show your support for Bill 110 and the oversight and accountability of Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario.

These organizations need to have oversight and accountability to be able to operate fairly and in the best interest of the children and the public needs to speak out about this issue so that we can convince our government to create that oversight and accountability.

At the end of the day, this is our children we are talking about here and our children are our future.

Curtis Kingston is one of the leading advocates in a group called Canada Court Watch where he helps children and families on an individual volunteer basis and also promote the oversight and accountability of the Children's Aid Societies

Source: Belleville Intelligencer June 30, 2012, not online.
Our copy came from the Facebook link by Curtis Kingston.

Instant Family Destruction

June 29, 2012 permalink

The enclosed article discusses the use of false criminal charges as a super weapon in divorce cases. It is not only in divorce that false criminal charges lead to instant family destruction. In the fixcas archives is a case in which a girl approaching puberty noticed that when dad touched her it felt different than it had before. She mentioned it to a relative, and that relative mentioned it to her family doctor, a mandated reporter. The first the father knew about it was when he was taken to jail in handcuffs. The family earned a living with a business run out of the home. The business was ruined. The father, who could afford the best legal help, remained in jail for a week and was restricted from visiting his home, and his business, for months. The family ultimately sold what was left of their business and moved away.



Lawyers alarmed at criminal charges in family cases

Trend on the rise as Ontario’s courts struggle to identify legitimate complaints

During his 20 years as a criminal defence lawyer, Joseph Neuberger has defended more than 400 cases involving charges arising from domestic relationships. Many, he says, relate to separation and bitter family court battles.

Roots Gadhia
‘The sad reality is that legitimate cases of abuse get tainted with the same incredulous brush,’ says Roots Gadhia.
Photo: Robin Kuniski

“Over the past 10 years, I have noticed an increase in the prevalence of these types of offences with a disturbing trend to use the criminal process as a quick means to obtain exclusive possession of the matrimonial home and thwart custody and access to the children of the relationships,” says Neuberger.

“I have successfully established fabrication in at least 15 per cent of the cases with very clear contradictions in evidence, including differences in affidavit evidence tendered in the family court proceedings.

Yet not one case resulted in charges being laid against the complainant.”

The absence of witnesses makes prosecution of false allegations difficult. While Neuberger emphasizes the need to take legitimate cases seriously, he worries there isn’t much in place to prevent a spouse from fabricating an allegation.

It’s a trend Murray Maltz, who has been practising family law for 27 years, has also noticed. But there are no studies, no way to quantify the problem, and, most troubling, no solutions at hand.

When someone makes a complaint, police must lay charges.

In family litigation, a criminal charge is like a red flag even when the case is still before the court. Additionally, the introduction of the criminal process can throw a wrench into any friendly resolution of the matter.

“So if you want to play the game, ‘I want custody, I want to control the situation,’ often people will take the position, ‘I’m going to call the police,’” says Maltz.

Immediately, the accused leaves the home and can’t communicate with the spouse and the children or come within a certain distance of the house. That makes the issues of custody and access more difficult.

As a result, according to lawyers, the spouse making the allegation has an edge in the case. With exclusive access, the children themselves could become pawns in the case.

Delays in the criminal system complicate the situation as the charge can easily loom for a year. By the time it’s over, says Maltz, the damage is done.

“How do you combat that?” he asks.

Domestic violence continues to be a concern in Canada. Statistics Canada reported last week that about 99,000 Canadians were victims of police-reported domestic violence in 2010. It also noted that more children reported witnessing domestic violence in 2009 than in 2004.

Clearly, the issue of domestic violence continues to be a serious societal concern. But complications arise from false allegations.

“The sad reality is that legitimate cases of abuse get tainted with the same incredulous brush,” says criminal defence lawyer Roots Gadhia.

Ontario introduced a new integrated domestic violence court last June to deal with people who had cases before both the family and criminal justice systems.

The pilot project is running in one Toronto location. Gadhia is hopeful this new court will be able to deal with the inconsistencies that she says are sometimes very apparent in the family and criminal court files.

The aim of the integrated domestic violence court is to improve the communication and co-ordination between the criminal and family courts, said Jason Gennaro, spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General.

“The court provides a single judge to hear criminal and family law cases relating to one family where domestic violence is an issue,” he says. “This will support the judge in more fully understanding the family and its ongoing needs.”

In 2009 and 2010, the government introduced legislative reforms to strengthen the family justice system and make judges more aware of violence that may have occurred in the family. Anyone applying for child custody or access must now complete a sworn statement.

Lawyer Esther Daniel points out that Form 35.1, an affidavit required for custody or access applications, requires those seeking custody to indicate if the applicant faces any criminal charges.

As a result, the family and criminal matters intersect when it comes to disputes over custody of the children and the matrimonial home.

As both a criminal and family law practitioner, Daniel worries the situation could lead to further abuse of the criminal justice system.

“It usually comes about when there’s a matrimonial breakdown and then police are called,” she says. “I’ve had a lot of criminal clients that have had proceedings against them . . . and family court proceedings follow.”

It’s difficult, she adds, to discern fact from fiction. Clearly, the issue of abuse between couples is one the courts take very seriously. But it’s also clear to many lawyers that some people use the process to further their own family law case.

“Unless you personally are witness to what the situation was . . . you don’t know 100 per cent,” says Daniel. “However, you can assess the situation and have a good judgment.”

At the end of the day, it’s the subjects of many of those disputes who suffer the greatest impacts, says family lawyer Kristy Maurina.

“We are dealing with real lives and the interests of children,” she says. “It can have a detrimental impact on the children who are already dealing with the pain of separation and are now faced with a loving and involved parent who is suddenly not allowed to see them anymore.”

For those involved in a marital dispute, the damage is immediate once someone levies a criminal charge.

“All the stakeholders in the justice system . . . need to use their discretion,” said Daniel.

“Domestic violence is something that needs to be taken seriously. But at the same time, you do have to uphold the integrity of the justice system.

The persons in the justice system should be supported when they use their discretion not to lay a charge or not to proceed with a matter and should do so free from the pressure that there may be professional consequences when doing so.”

Maltz foresees some practical approaches to the issue. Expediting the criminal matters, for example, is important, he notes.

The family courts, according to Maltz, have made great strides and become much less combative over the years while the criminal courts remain adversarial. In situations where there’s overlap or crossover between the two, they should work on the same level, he suggests.

“I’d like to see the courts somehow combine themselves and actually deal with the charges together."

Source: Law Times

CAS Ward Kills

June 29, 2012 permalink

Tanya Jane Nepinak, Carolyn Marie Sinclair and Lorna Blacksmith
Tanya Jane Nepinak, Carolyn Marie Sinclair and Lorna Blacksmith

The three young women pictured above were all killed by Shawn Cameron Lamb. Mr Lamb was born Darrell Dokis to a teen single mom of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia, Ontario in 1959. Children's aid took Lamb as a toddler, placing him with a white foster family who subjected him to sexual, mental and physical abuse. “The white family I ended up with were dysfunctional in many ways,” Lamb said in 2009. “Alcoholics, sexual sadists, violent and many other negative practices was their way,” he said. Lamb began abusing booze at age nine — he says his foster folks encouraged him to play bartender — and became a frequent face at local bars by age 15. He ran away from home for good at age 17 and became a career criminal.



Lamb racked up over 100 convictions

It was only recently that Shawn Cameron Lamb, 52, promised he was finally ready to reform his troubled, violent and drug-addled life for good — and for the good of others — once he got out of jail.

Instead, the rootless career criminal allegedly did anything but, and now stands accused of the serial murders of three Winnipeg women, along with sexual assaults on a chronic teen runaway last fall and a 36-year-old woman last week.

“Throughout my life I have abused drugs and have lived from moment to moment with no plans or aspirations,” he wrote in a letter to a Winnipeg judge in 2009, after pleading guilty to attempting to mug an innocent mother pushing her infant in a stroller.

Lamb had just huffed back a rock of crack cocaine two minutes before the crime.

“This period of incarceration has changed all that. I want to put my experience, unenviable as it is, to work in the service of others,” Lamb said.

Despite Lamb’s vast and varied criminal record (he’s amassed more than 100 convictions to date), the judge handed him a major break and ordered him to serve a supervised conditional sentence of 18 months in the community.

Less than a week after being freed, however, Lamb reoffended a number of times and on May 26, 2010 admitted guilt to 16 charges — including two violent muggings, a car theft and forging cheques stolen from a local massage parlour.

One of his victims was a 69-year-old woman. The other was a man robbed and threatened for his cases of beer.

“I don’t want to reoffend. I don’t want to hurt anybody else. I don’t want to spend any more time in jail ... I just want to start new,” Lamb told Judge Linda Giesbrecht. “I’ve forgiven everybody. I’ve asked for forgiveness. I believe that I’ve been forgiven for what I’ve done.”

Court-ordered reports obtained by the Winnipeg Sun putting Lamb’s alarming background under the microscope paint a picture of a recalcitrant offender and drifter who has spent a large chunk of his adult life behind bars.

Born Darrell Dokis to a teen single mom on the urban reserve of Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia, Ont. in 1959, child welfare officials took Lamb from his community as a toddler as part of a politically-motivated “scoop” of aboriginal kids.

He was placed with a white foster family who subjected him to sexual, mental and physical abuse.

He didn’t confirm his aboriginal heritage and existence of his birth family until 2008 — a revelation he described as “overwhelming” and caused him to resume a long-standing cocaine habit. His mistreatment at the hands of his foster parents led him to a suicide attempt at age 10, he told a probation officer.

“The white family I ended up with were dysfunctional in many ways,” Lamb said in 2009. “Alcoholics, sexual sadists, violent and many other negative practices was their way,” he said.

Lamb began abusing booze at age nine — he says his foster folks encouraged him to play bartender — and became a frequent face at local bars by age 15.

Seeking a greater high than the drink could provide, Lamb turned to all manner of drugs, including a dangerous addiction to mixing doses of cocaine and heroin by 1975.

After running away from home for good at age 17, he told Giesbrecht he lived on the streets of Toronto for a time, occasionally waking up in psychiatric wards. “I thought I would die,” he said.

Lamb’s record shows he left Ontario for stints in Winnipeg and other places in western Canada.

He was married twice and fathered two sons with a woman who was ultimately convicted of manslaughter in a shooting-related death in Slave Lake, Alta.

A long-term relationship with a woman between 1998 and 2004 was marred by booze abuse and violence.

“He acknowledges that he looked for other women who were as self-destructive as himself,” a report said. “His relationships are often addiction-fuelled on the parts of both parties and usually ended in assaultive behaviour.”

In 1991, Lamb was handed his longest sentence yet — four years for a sexual assault in Slave Lake.

Records show he was convicted of breaching parole and statutory release in the years that followed.

He re-emerged in Winnipeg around 1998, and has been habitually offending here ever since.

Lamb was diagnosed as bipolar while doing time in Stony Mountain Institution in 2001.

“His response to this information was that he has received ‘many labels over the years,’ which includes anti-social personality, depression, (FASD), (ADD) and bi-polar,” a probation official wrote.

Lamb is presumed innocent of the new charges he’s facing.

Source: Winnipeg Sun

Why Not to Ask for Help

June 29, 2012 permalink

A few misinformed parents turn to child protectors for help. Faced with abuse by her husband Layla Shiek asked child protectors on the island of Maui to help her. They took her children. After years of futile hoop-jumping in an effort to satisfy them, her parental rights were terminated.



Letters to the Editor

CPS system needs to be reformed

If you are a victim of domestic violence and have children, I do not recommend calling Maui's Child Protective Services for help. You may end up like Layla Shiek, a Somalian refugee, who after years of abuse by her husband, went to the CPS offices for help. Instead, her children were taken away. She was put through a grueling court system, and though she fulfilled all requirements--including learning English in two years, getting a job and apartment, etc.--her parental rights were stripped and her children traumatized.

Travesties like this are quite common throughout the system--a system that is much needed, but sorely in need of reform. Victims seldom have adequate representation. In Layla's case, she has exhausted any lawyers on Maui who will even take on the CPS for any amount of money so she can be reunited with her children!

Now that her story is going viral on Youtube and Akaku: Maui Community Television, she may find justice at last when someone steps up to help.

So beware the catch-22, or you may end up in hotter water by going to authorities.

This is the tragedy of domestic violence.

Source: Maui Weekly

Sleeping Babies

June 28, 2012 permalink

Brief periods of separation between parent and child are inevitable, particularly for single parents. Examples include leaving a child in a car while running into a store, leaving a sleeping child at home, losing contact with a child in a busy mall or a child who wanders away from home. It is just about impossible for a parent to secure the necessities of life without an occasional temporary separation from a child. But according the the Durham Regional Police, all of these short separations are offenses and grounds for turning children over to the CAS. In past decades, police allowed children to sleep in their own homes and reunited lost children with their parents.



Police Dealing With Children Left Unattended

Durham Police have responded to five incidents of children unattended in as many weeks and are warning parents of the dangers and potential charges involved.

During the month of May 2012 in Oshawa, police received information from a neighbor that a female party had been going out and leaving her two children home alone. Officers attended and found the residence secure but entered through an unlocked window and located two small children unattended, both under the age of three. Police contacted the mother through a cell number found in the residence and requested her to return home immediately. Upon arrival, the mother indicated that she had put the children to sleep and had gone out to a nearby bar. Both children were apprehended by child protection workers.

In early June 2012 in Whitby, police received information from a female complainant advising her estranged husband had left their one-year- old child sleeping in the residence unattended. Officers attended the address and spoke with the father and determined the one year old child had been left alone. The child was returned to the care of the mother.

In mid-June 2012, officers responded to a residential alarm call for service in Oshawa. Upon clearing the residence, they found a 4-year-old child, who had been left alone and became scared, opening the door and causing the alarm to activate. The small child advised this happens every night after his bedtime. The child’s parents returned home while officers were there and advised that they had left their child alone to go shopping. Child protection workers were contacted and will be investigating further.

Last week, Pickering officers received a call of a found 2-year-old child wandering the streets of a residential neighborhood. Police arrived and picked-up the child. Officers then canvassed the nearby vicinity and eventually found several family members of the toddler who had not realized the toddler was missing from their residence. The child was found nearby to several busy roadways but was unharmed.

The most recent example of a child found in distress occurred last night in Whitby where citizens located a wandering three year old child in their neighborhood, whom they did not recognize. Officers canvassed the vicinity and eventually located the mother of the child. The three year old had wandered a considerable distance from home and his absence had not been noted by his caregivers.

In each case, the children involved were unharmed and child protection workers were immediately notified to investigate further.

Where warranted, child protection workers and police may impose charges upon caregivers who are responsible for the safe well-being of children in their care where negligence is determined. Police are warning all caregivers, especially during these summer months, to be mindful of the whereabouts of all young children to ensure their safety and well-being at all times.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, section 218, anyone who unlawfully abandons or endangers a child under the age of 10 is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for up to five years.


Source: Durham Regional Police Service

sleeping baby
Police/CAS target

Brenda Waudby Cleared

June 28, 2012 permalink

After fifteen years in legal purgatory, Brenda Waudby has been completely cleared. It takes the crown a long time to correct its mistakes. The ordeal started when Branda's daughter Jenna was murdered. Brenda was at first accused of murder, but pleaded guitly to criminal child abuse under an agreement that allowed her to retain custody of her two remaining children. In 2007 the real killer, a babysitter, was convicted. It took the crown until 2009 to vacate Brenda's conviction, and until now to get her off the provincial child abuse registry. The article says that judge Michelle Fuerst ordered CAS to remove Brenda from the child abuse registry. That is beyond the powers of a family court judge, but this was not family court.



Judge overturns Waudby's 1999 child abuse conviction

Brenda Waudby and Justine Traynor
Brenda Waudby comforts her daughter Justine Traynor after speaking to reporters on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 following having her 1999 child abuse conviction overturned at Superior Court in Peterborough.

Brenda Waudby is no longer a perpetrator of a violent crime against a child. She is no longer a criminal.

She is now simply the mother to a young woman and a young man, and the grieving mother of a child whose violent murder was the event that set off her long legal nightmare.

On Wednesday morning Madam Justice Michelle Fuerst overturned Waudby’s 1999 child abuse conviction, acquitting her of the charge.

The ruling capped a 15-year ordeal for Waudby, the last step in a long, hard journey to clear her name.

During the emotional Superior Court proceeding, Waudby heard something she’s waited 15 years for: an apology, issued by Crown attorney Alison Wheeler, who acknowledged that Waudby’s conviction was a miscarriage of justice.

“The Crown apologizes to Brenda Waudby,” Wheeler said.

Her child, 21-month-old Jenna, was the victim of a homicide, Wheeler said.

“Ms. Waudby should have been treated as a grieving parent. She was not,” Wheeler said.

Instead, Waudby became the prime suspect, interrogated by police and eventually charged with murdering her child in 1997.

She was stigmatized by the community, Wheeler said, and her two children were taken from her by the Children’s Aid Society.

It was wrong, Wheeler said, and it’s taken a long time to set it right.

“For all of this, the Crown is deeply and sincerely sorry,” she said.

It was an apology Waudby said she accepted whole-heartedly.

“I almost can’t believe this day has arrived,” Waudby said, her voice breaking as she addressed the court.

Then she read a part of the victim impact statement she read to the court in 2007, the day her former babysitter went to jail for Jenna’s death.

Jenna was a beautiful child, she said, just on the verge of walking. She had already learned her first word. It was “mom.”

Waudby told court she carries a tremendous amount of guilt. She was supposed to keep Jenna safe, she said, and let her daughter down.

Police charged her former babysitter with second-degree murder in 2005. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2006 and was sentenced to 22 months in custody in 2007.

In his confession to police he admitted that he hit Jenna several times that fateful night, angry that he had to babysit.

Waudby’s murder charge was dismissed in 1999.

At the time she was facing the prospect of losing her two children for good, Waudby told court, and she took the only option she thought she had. Her understanding was that she could plead guilty to having abused Jenna prior to her death and the murder charge would be withdrawn.

That, she said, would get her two children back.

And it worked. Both children were returned to her following the guilty plea.

But the ordeal didn’t end.

Mistakes were made, she said, again and again and compounded over time.

“It was like a freight train that couldn’t be stopped,” she said.

The basis for both the child abuse and murder charge lay in the shoddy work of disgraced former child pathologist Dr. Charles Smith, who told investigators Jenna was injured while she was in Waudby’s care.

Smith also said he discovered “old” rib injuries, which he said were an indication of previous abuse. Smith was later found to have given false testimony in a series of child death cases. He was stripped of his medical licence last year.

Wheeler conceded that if the forensic pathology was done correctly in the first place, Waudby never would have been charged with anything.

When the babysitter pleaded guilty Crown attorney Brian Gilkinson told court the sitter admitted that his blows to Jenna’s abdomen “would’ve” caused rib injuries.

But there was an error in the official court transcript, and Gilkinson’s statement read, “wouldn’t have.”

The transcript was entered into proceedings during the Goudge Inquiry, a 2007 hearing that examined Smith’s work and child pathology in the province.

The error became part of the public record.

It wasn’t discovered until Kirkpatrick sought a court order allowing her to listen to the taped recordings of the babysitter’s proceedings.

The babysitter’s confession was never disclosed to Waudby, nor was a medical report that indicated Jenna’s injuries may not be old, or notes written by investigators that indicated they realized Waudby may not be guilty of child abuse.

Waudby’s lawyer, Julie Kirkpatrick, hammered on these facts in her submissions to the court.

As she put it, the babysitter’s confession and a new pathology report fit together like a hand and glove.

“All of the injuries occurred in the same time frame, and occurred under the babysitter’s watch,” Kirkpatrick said.

“It is now an incontrovertible fact that Jenna did not have any old injuries when she died,” Kirkpatrick said.

Kirkpatrick withdrew a Charter of Rights application at the start of Monday’s proceedings. It would have argued that her right to disclosure was violated when police failed to tell her that new evidence suggested the babysitter may have caused Jenna’s rib injuries. Police also failed to tell the Children’s Aid Society that there were serious flaws with the forensic evidence, and that it was likely the murder charge was going to be withdrawn. That charge was the only grounds the CAS had to seize Waudby’s children.

The Crown was prepared to oppose that application.

Wheeler also indicated that the Crown did not agree that Waudby pleaded guilty to child abuse in exchange for withdrawing the murder charge.

The Crown will pay for Jenna’s reburial, Wheeler said. Unbeknownst to Waudby, her daughter was buried without her ribcage, which wasn’t disclosed to her until 2010.

The Crown is also making arrangements for Waudby to speak with a senior justice official, Wheeler said, to discuss concerns she has with the babysitter’s prosecution.

Waudby will also meet with forensic pathologist Chris Milroy, to discuss any remaining questions she has about Jenna’s death.

Waudby has settled her lawsuits filed against the province, Smith, the city police service and the Children’s Aid Society.

She has been compensated through the Goudge Inquiry and Wheeler said a similar process has begun for her acquittal.

Waudby’s name will also be removed from the Child Abuse Registry. Fuerst ordered her name to be removed no later than July 11.

Source: Peterborough Examiner

Girl Whipping OK

June 27, 2012 permalink

In Manitoba it is perfectly all right for a foster dad to whip a girl in the buttocks, even if it puts her in the hospital. Don't try this if you are a real dad.



Manitoban spared criminal record for whipping foster child with riding crop

WINNIPEG - A Manitoba man has been spared a criminal record for whipping his 11-year-old foster daughter with a riding crop as punishment for bad school behaviour.

The 49-year-old man, who can't be named to protect the identity of the girl, pleaded guilty to assault and was given a two-year conditional discharge on Monday.

He admits striking the girl 10 times in the buttocks, which caused her to go to hospital with minor injuries.

The Crown was seeking a suspended sentence, which would have resulted in a blemish on his otherwise clean record.

But Queen’s Bench Justice Doug Abra said he was impressed by the "honestly and candour" displayed by the accused in explaining his actions.

Crown attorney Debbie Buors told court the man quoted Bible verses as he struck the girl, who was put in his family’s care by Child and Family Services after being seized from a distant relative.

He was telling her "Spare the rod, spoil the child" and "When you are evil you go to Hell," while dishing out the punishment on the family’s property in eastern Manitoba.

As she was being struck, the girl told police she repeatedly asked the man why he was hurting her.

"She was quoting the scripture back to him," said Buors. "She was telling him 'That’s like putting evil on a child, whipping them with a horse whip.'"

Defence lawyer Jay Prober said his client was frustrated over ongoing disciplinary issues with the girl, specifically while she was at school.

There had been a number of problems, which included acting out in class and making inappropriate comments.

The "trigger" for the incident was the girl mocking the word "pianist" in class, instead referring to it as "penis", court was told.

"Verbal words were not having an effect on her. She was going to have to have a spank," the man told court on Monday. He said he’d used corporal punishment in the past on his other children as a "last resort."

"I don’t think (at the time) it was out of order. I’m finding out now maybe it was," he admitted.

The man said the criminal case has ripped his tight-knit family apart because he hasn’t been allowed to see the girl for the past three years while on bail awaiting trial.

"I feel like my child has been abducted from me," he said.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Cougar Bites Social Worker

June 27, 2012 permalink

A pet cougar, toothless according to its owner, bit social worker Cindy Robson while she was conducting a home inspection in Ohio.



Pet cougar bites caseworker, perplexing police

The cougar had no teeth, she was told, but Cindy Robson still didn’t want to pet it.

The Licking County caseworker was at a Pataskala home on Monday evening to see whether it was safe for twin 3-year-old girls to live there, according to a police report. Robson knew the owners had exotic pets, and she had been instructed to see whether they were properly contained.

She watched as owner Evelyn Varney-Shaw stroked the large cat in her backyard. Shaw told her she could pet it, too.

“I did not pet the mountain lion,” Robson, 51, wrote in her police statement. “I simply ran my hand along the outside of the fence and it grabbed my left pinky finger and held on. I felt teeth ...”

Robson began to bleed. Shaw, an outspoken opponent of a new state law that regulates exotic-animal ownership, rushed for a bandage.

“I thought you said this thing did not have any teeth,” Robson recalled saying.

Shaw, 38, did not return calls and emails seeking comment yesterday. Earlier this year, she went to the Statehouse to rail against an exotic-animal bill introduced after Terry Thompson released about 50 of his lions, tigers, bears and other animals on Oct. 18 near Zanesville.

Thompson killed himself, and deputies killed nearly all of the loose animals.

Shaw told legislators in March that the proposed law — which ultimately passed — would force owners to euthanize their exotic pets or keep them illegally. The law bans future ownership of most exotic animals and requires current owners to obtain permits and liability insurance and ensure secure enclosures.

“This bill would either cause the death of my animals or force me to go from a law-abiding citizen to a criminal,” Shaw told lawmakers.

The law doesn’t go into effect until September, so Shaw’s pet cougar doesn’t need a permit or insurance yet. Neither do her other exotic pets, smaller cats called servals.

“We don’t really have any legal authority in the issue,” said Erica Pitchford, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which will issue the permits.

So the cougar bite had Pataskala police stumped. It didn’t appear Shaw did anything wrong, at least legally. Officers contacted the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to report the incident because they weren’t sure whom to call.

“We’re all kind of scratching our heads now,” said Police Chief Bruce Brooks.

It remains to be seen what Robson will do. She didn’t return calls, so her only words came from the police report, where she wrote that she fled Shaw’s home after a monkey in a cage lunged at her.

Shaw hopped in the car beside her, and the two drove to the hospital. Shaw apologized and said she didn’t want the twin girls, her nieces, to be put into foster care. Robson said Shaw’s husband called, angry that his wife let Robson get so close to the cougar.

Then he asked Mrs. Shaw why Robson was driving so fast.

“I told her to tell him (because) I was bleeding a lot,” Robson wrote.

Source: Columbus Dispatch

In a second article, cougar owner Evelyn Shaw offers to euthanize the animal. One advocate is suggesting a save the kitty campaign.



Pataskala Woman's Pet Mountain Lion Bites State Worker

Investigators said that a state worker was injured while inspecting a mountain lion's cage on Tuesday.

The caseworker was at the home of Evelyn Shaw, who was working to adopt her two young nieces, 10TV's Jason Frazer reported. The county worker said that Shaw claimed the lion posed no risk to the community nor did it pose a risk to her two three-year-old nieces she was trying to adopt.

According to police, Shaw told the county worker that the mountain lion's teeth had fallen out and that it was declawed. However, when the worker was inspecting the cage, she said the animal bit her pinky finger, Frazer reported.

Shaw accompanied the victim, who drove herself, to see a finger specialist at Mount Carmel East Hospital, in Columbus. Police said that Shaw apologized for the incident, who said that she did not want her nieces to be placed in foster care.

Shaw, who has been at the forefront of the fight against the recently signed exotic animal legislation, was not charged in the incident, Frazer reported. The victim said that Shaw told her she would euthanize the animal.

Source: WBNS-TV

Beware of cat

Hit and Run

June 27, 2012 permalink

According to police, on June 22 drunk driver Waverly Patrick hit Keyairra Price, a Yonkers New York high school student and cheerleader. Patrick fled the scene leaving Keyairra to die. And Waverly Patrick's profession? He is an employee of Leake & Watts children's home. In his after-hours job he works at the Abbott House in Irvington, a social services agency for abused, neglected and abandoned children.



Bail denied for Yonkers man held in fatal hit-and-run

Joyce Price and Mary Taylor
From left, Joyce Price and Mary Taylor, grandmothers of 16-year-old Keyairra Price, console each other outside court after Monday's arraignment.
/ Tania Savayan/The Journal News

A family photo of 16-year-old Keyairra Price and her father Keyan Price

YONKERS — The devastated relatives and friends of a 16-year-old Gorton High School cheerleader who was struck and killed in a drunken-driving, hit-and-run incident loudly applauded a judge who declined bail for the suspect on Monday.

“It is not just what he did, but it is how he did it,” Floyd Price Sr., 57, Keyairra Price’s grandfather, said about Waverly Patrick, 53. “He just left her there. To be so negligent and leave a child in the street.”

City Court Judge Michael Martinelli refused to grant bail for Patrick of 2 Hudson St., who said nothing during his brief arraignment. As he was led back to jail, some of Price’s family members and friends shouted “Thank you!” to the judge and yelled “Murderer!” and “You killed my baby!” at Patrick.

Keyairra Price and Keyan Price
A family photo of 16-year-old Keyairra Price and her father Keyan Price

Patrick, an employee of the Leake & Watts residential treatment center in Yonkers, was represented by the Legal Aid Society of Westchester. About 10 of his relatives attended the hearing and declined to comment on the matter.

Outside the courthouse, Price’s mother, O’Meeka Johnson, 35, called Patrick a “monster.”

“He’s pathetic. He took a child’s life,” said Johnson, an employee of New York Sports Club.

Patrick is charged with leaving the scene of an accident with a death and driving while intoxicated, said Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for Distict Attorney Janet DiFiore.

He was convicted of driving while intoxicated eight years ago.

Price, who was going into her junior year at Gorton, played softball at the school and ran track.

“Support staff were available at the school today to help staff and students cope during this difficult time,” said Maura Lamoreaux, a schools spokeswoman.

Among Price’s favorite singers were Barbra Streisand and Bette Midler.

She taught herself to play the electric guitar and clarinet, her mother said.

She also loved art and had thoughts of becoming a beautician, she addded.

Her mother described the girl as a “very happy, bubbly child” who was “calm and patient” as well as a good student.

Keyan Price, the girl’s father, remembered his daughter as a “daddy’s girl.”

Keyan Price, an employee of Consolidated Edison, said he was with his daughter every Sunday.

“Sundays, we had dad and daughter day,” he said.

Keyairra Price was having a sleepover with her best friend, Angelique Cogdell, 15, another Gorton student, on Friday night.

They left Cogdell’s home about 9:25 p.m. to go to a store.

Michelle Palmer, 28, Cogdell’s sister, said she was on the porch when she heard what sounded like two cars crashing less than a block away.

“I heard Angelique screaming,” Palmer said.

Palmer rushed over and saw Price on the ground near 199 Valentine Lane.

She called police as she held the teen’s hand.

“She didn’t talk, but she did squeeze my hand,” Palmer said. “I said, ‘I’m here.’ ”

Police, firefighters and ambulance workers tried to save the girl’s life.

She was rushed to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, where she died.

Patrick never stopped after running over the girl, police said.

At 2 a.m. Saturday, detectives located the car and Patrick.

Meredith Barber, a spokeswoman for Leake & Watts, confirmed that Patrick is an employee at the children’s home but declined to describe his duties.

She said he has been put on administrative leave.

“It is our policy that if someone is arrested that they are put on administrative leave until the case is adjudicated,” Barber said.

Patrick, who is single, holds a second job at the Abbott House in Irvington, a social services agency for abused, neglected and abandoned children.

Price also is survived by a half-sister, Diamond Price, 16; and stepbrother Sam Johnson, 16.

Price’s wake and funeral service will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Flynn Funeral Home, 325 S. Broadway.

She will be buried at 10 a.m. Friday in Oakland Cemetery in Yonkers.

Source: Journal News (Westchester, Rockland, Putnam)

Tranquil Whisper Only

June 27, 2012 permalink

Joseph Bryze has been forced to plead guilty. His crime? He called a CAS worker ten times, during which he made no threats but raised his voice. At a court hearing he was upset and waved his arms. Social workers should be addressed in a tranquil whisper.



Man on probation for harassment of CAS worker

Joseph Bryze's behaviour towards a Children's Aid Society worker frightened the woman, a judge heard Tuesday.

The 35-year-old man called her 10 times between Sept. 1 and Dec. 13, assistant Crown attorney Michael Varpio said.

“He was aggressive, with heightened emotionality,” the prosecutor said.

“There were no threats, but it caused her to be fearful.''

On Dec. 13, while at a hearing, Bryze became upset. He was yelling and waving his arms, which also made the woman fearful, Varpio said.

Bryze pleaded guilty to criminal harassment in connection with the incidents.

As part of a plea bargain, he received a suspended sentence and was placed on probation for 18 months.

Bryze explained to Ontario Court Justice Andrew Buttazzoni that he was watching his family fall apart last year.

“I know I'm wrong for my outbursts,'' he said, adding he needs to learn how to phrase his words.

Source: Sault Star

people waving
criminal gang

Foster Monster

June 26, 2012 permalink

A foster mom and dad in Arkansas are accused of abusing their wards. Luella Mengine tied a child's hands and feet together, forced a child's head under water and forced a child to drink urine. Husband Leon stood by without helping the children. Social workers found nothing wrong with the family, put defiant police went ahead and filed charges anyway.



Couple Charged With Abusing Foster Children

BENTON — A Columbia County woman charged with abusing her foster children was in court this morning. Before it was all over her husband was arrested in the courtroom and also accused of assaulting the kids!

Luella Mengine gave up her right to a hearing on charges that for four years she abused foster children in her care.

Police say the assaults on the two boys and two girls took place in her home near Benton. Mengine had little to say.

During Mengine’s court appearance she was also hit with additional charges. Some of the allegations:

  • She tied a child’s hands and feet together.
  • Forced the child’s head into a bucket of water.
  • Forced a child to drink urine after getting it from a toilet.

Luella Mengine’s free on bail. Her husband, Leon was arrested during his wife’s hearing.

He is jailed after failing to come up with $200,000 bail.

He’s accused of abusing the children. Knew about his wife`s child abuse and failed to protect the children.

Assistant Columbia County D.A. Dan Lynn said the case has a lot of emotion.

“I think anyone who has any relatives including children and any citizen will look at this case and be shocked at the allegations involved, obviously it’s very serious and we will prosecute this case to the fullest extent we can,” Lynn explained.

Defense Attorney Al Flora said his clients maintain their innocence.

“Children and youth services found all of the allegations unfounded and despite that determination the state police went ahead and filed the criminal charges and is very rare and I have never seen that before,” said Flora.

Officials say all of the children are expected to testify in what court papers describe as torture.

Source: WNEP

Teen Removal

June 26, 2012 permalink

Vernon Beck Photo of a teen being taken away by force by two Ontario Provincial Police officers. The teen was taken with no warrant and not by apprehension. The boy was sleeping in his bed peacefully when police barged into his room and bullied and used brute force to take the teen away. After a call from Canada Court Watch to police, the boy was released from the unlawfully custody of police.

This is an example of abuse of police force against young Canadians. The Police officers said that they had to take the boy back to the station because of the the CAS. Its no wonder young Canadians no longer trust the police.

OPP takes teen without justification

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

From another Facebook thread, here are earlier comments by Vernon Beck:



Vernon Beck Canada Court Watch has received statements and video taken of Ontario Provincial Police Officers breaking the law by unlawfully arresting a young boy and dragging him out of his home in handcuffs. The police officer admitted to a Canada Court Watch investigator that the boy had not been arrested. CAS was involved of course CAS workers likely gave OPP officers misinformation and like fools the OPP officers acted on the words of the CAS. All caught on video. Going to be interesting with police officers breaking the law and violating the Police Services Act. CCW caught OPP officers breaking the law in Gravenhurst last year as well including theft of documents from an individual in front of the courthouse. All recorded of course.

Its about time for the OPP to properly train its officers about their obligations when dealing with the CAS. CAS workers have absolutely NO authority to tell officers to apprehend any child without a valid warrant from a judge. Police take the heat while unregistered CAS workers unlawfully practicing social order police to "jump" and the police ask the CAS workers, "how high". The OPP are making fools of themselves by listening to these unregistered and unregulated CAS lawbreakers.

Vernon Beck Testimony will be made public. The kid is a real fighter. Told the police officers right to their faces that they had no authority to take him without a warrant. Police thought they could because some unregistered CAS worker told police they could. Police are now going to regret listening to the CAS lawbreakers and troublemakers. I'll bet next time the officers are going to be smarter and ask the CAS worker for a copy of a warrant first before being embarrassed by the CAS.

Vernon Beck We do not want OPP to turn with a vengeance on anyone. We just want the OPP and the CAS to to their jobs within the laws of Canada and to respect the rights of people under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Vernon Beck We just viewed the video of the unlawful police activities by the Ontario Provincial Police. Clearly show two officers dragging a teen over the age of 14 out to police cruiser with his hands handcuffed behind his back. This is not supposed to be going on in Canada. The video when it is released soon will shock the residents of those communities who are served by the OPP.

Vernon Beck There was no apprehension john and the teen was not under arrest. CCW called the police shortly after the wrongful arrest and the teen was released almost immediatly.

Vernon Beck The police officers suddenly realized they screwed up.

Vernon Beck In addition John, the OPP officers pulled the teen out of his bed and handcuffed him right in his bedroom. He was safe and in no danger whatsoever. Cops foolishly followed the instructions of an unregistered CAS worker who was only abusing her power to punish the teen for not doing what she wanted.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Endless Record

June 26, 2012 permalink

Ever have to fill out one of those government forms listing every place you have lived? Every time they get asked two English brothers will have to list 173 homes for the 14 years they spent in foster care.



Brothers Win Right to Claim £100,000 Compensation for 13 Years Spent in 173 Foster Homes

Social workers' failure to find adoption for abandoned boys caused severe emotional and behavioural problems, says high court judge in Liverpool

Two boys who were moved between a total of 173 foster homes over 13 years while also suffering abuse have won the right to compensation.

A high court judge ruled that failures by the social workers responsible for them had caused "havoc" in the brothers' lives.

One boy was moved between 96 foster homes and his brother was sent to 77, the court heard. Both suffered abuse while they were in foster care.

They are likely to claim £100,000 from Lancashire County Council after social workers passed them from foster home to foster home without securing successful adoptions for 13 years.

Mr Justice Peter Jackson said at Liverpool high court that the way the brothers were taken care of by social workers "amounted in reality to permanently looked-after disruption".

The brothers, known as A and S, are now aged 16 and 14. They were taken into care in 1998 when A was two and S was six months old.

The boy's mother had abandoned them after their father committed suicide a month after the couple separated.

Social workers originally planned to place them with an aunt, a single mother with six children, but those plans fell through.

In March 2001, more than three years after they were taken into care, the boys were given legal orders that freed them for adoption.

But social workers failed in finding adoptive families for the brothers, and they drifted between foster homes for years without ever being properly placed into care.

Jackson said: "The boys have had major placements, emergency placements, temporary placements, respite placements and respite for respite placements."

By 2008, the brothers were "deeply distressed and disturbed and showed formidably challenging and sometimes violent behaviour," according to the court.

Their lawyer, Antonia Love, said: "This is one of the most shocking cases we have come across of children being failed by the care system."

Source: International Business Times

long list

Foster Prostitution

June 26, 2012 permalink

Police in Florida have busted a prostitution ring that recruited girls from foster care. Foster girls are easy to recruit because no one is looking out for them. The ring used the girls as a source of cash, splitting $100 tricks $30-40 for the girls and $60-70 for themselves. They also used the girls as their own sex partners. One man involved, but not arrested, is Jean LaCroix, a child protective investigator employed by the Department of Children & Families. He is alleged to have had sex with a teenaged foster child whose safety he was assigned to protect. He also led the 2006 investigation that resulted in placing Nubia Doctor with the adoptive Barahona family that killed her.



Child welfare

4 charged with running foster child prostitution ring

Police have busted a ring that allegedly recruited underage girls in the care of the state to work as prostitutes.

Willie Calvin Bivens
Willie Calvin Bivens
Anturrell Nathaniel Dean
Anturrell Nathaniel Dean
Eric George Earle
Eric George Earle
David Zarifi
David Zarifi

Police and prosecutors arrested four alleged pimps Monday morning as part of an ongoing investigation into a ring of human traffickers who preyed on abused and neglected children in foster care.

The men, police say, were part of an organized conspiracy to lure underage girls into prostitution. The four were charged with conspiracy, racketeering and unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

Using a teenage foster child as a recruiter, police say, the four men plied underage girls with cash, affection and gifts. Ultimately, the girls became prostitutes who earned the ring about $100 for every man with whom they had sex. The girls, in turn, were paid $30 or $40 of that original $100.

Beginning in January of 2011, members of the ring would call girls on cell phones supplied by the men and arrange for them to have sex at a building in Homestead that the ring used as a kind of brothel, records say.

Charged Monday were Eric George Earle, 29, called “E-Nasty,” Willie Calvin Bivens, 65, called “Tank,” Anturrell Nathaniel Dean, 30, and David Zarifi, 34. A fifth person — a 17-year-old foster child who is identified only by the initials S.S. — is listed in a 13-page sworn statement as a “recruiter” for the ring, though she is not charged with any crimes. As of late Monday, the four men remained in jail: Zarifi on $53,000 bail, Earle on $60,000 bail, Bivens on $35,505 bail, and Dean on $45,000.

The human trafficking investigation also involves a now-suspended child abuse investigator for the agency that oversees child welfare efforts in Florida. Jean LaCroix, a child protective investigator employed by the Department of Children & Families, was placed on paid administrative leave while police and prosecutors investigate allegations he repeatedly had sex with a teenaged foster child whose safety he was assigned to protect.

Sources have told The Miami Herald that LaCroix placed the girl at a group home for dependent children — and turn returned to the home repeatedly to pick the girl up for sexual favors. The girl, sources say, also was working for members of the ring who were arrested Monday.

LaCroix had spearheaded a 2006 child abuse investigation — prompted by a call from worried teachers and administrators — into the welfare of Nubia Barahona, a twin who was adopted from foster care and was killed in 2011, police say by her own adoptive parents, Carmen and Jorge Barahona. LaCroix was named in a lawsuit alleging DCF failed repeatedly to protect Nubia, and her brother, Victor, whom police say also endured years of torment.

LaCroix has not been charged with any crimes.

The investigation began in December 2011 when a foster child disclosed that she had been having consensual sex with a man.

The 17-year-old, identified as M.D., allowed police to search her cellphone. It contained images of the girl both naked and having sex with Zarifi, a sworn statement says. M.D., police say, suffers from cognitive impairments.

M.D. told police that, soon after she went sent to live in a state-operated group home in September 2011, she was recruited by a housemate, S.S., who told her “she could make money by having sex with men,” a warrant states. At first, she was introduced to a man she then knew only as “E-Nasty.” But Earle introduced her to Zarifi, whom she told police was “nice to her.” M.D. liked Zarifi so much that she had sex with him for free after being paid four times.

Eventually, M.D. agreed to have sex with other men, the warrant says. Either Earle or Zarifi would call her on her cellphone, and arrange to pick her up either at school or at her group home. From there, M.D. would be driven to a home operated by Bivens, where she would be paid $40 to have sex with men, the warrant says.

M.D. also had sex with Zarifi in a room at Bivens’ house, the warrant says.

A review of text messages on M.D.’s phone by police recovered several messages from Earle involving johns, including a message that “somebody wanna pay u to [have sex].”

Another resident of the group home, which was operated by Children’s Home Society, told police that she, too, had been recruited into prostitution by S.S. and Earle. The girl, identified only as C.W., said that Earle gave her clothes – at first without asking for sex in return. Later, C.W. had sex with Earle, who then coaxed her into having sex with Bivens, as well, “as a kind of trial run,” the warrant states.

Shortly after that, police say, Earle asked C.W. to meet with his brother, Dean, who had recently been released from jail. Dean gave the girl cash without requiring that she have sex, the warrant says. But by March 2011, C.W. was prostituting herself for Dean. The arrangement lasted until the following August, the warrant says, and then briefly a month later. C.W. told police that Dean charged johns $100 to have sex with the girl. He paid her $30.

Another foster child who lived at the group home, identified as J.D., told police that Earle tried to recruit her, as well, to work for him as a prostitute. “She states that ‘E’ knew that they were minors at the time he recruited them,” the warrant says.

Though child welfare administrators typically try to place foster children in homes with foster parents, some children prove to be more challenging. Older children with developments disabilities, mental illness or behavioral problems end up in group homes, rather than with foster families, because it’s hard to find families willing to take them.

The ease with which ring members had access to the girls showed the “extreme lack of supervision of these girls, said Carole Schauffer, a children’s advocate who is working with DCF to recruit foster parents and improve the quality of foster parenting. “Nobody is looking at them as a parent would,” Schauffer said.

Source: Miami Herald

New Zealand AIDS Girl

June 25, 2012 permalink

While many graduates of foster care report abuse, todays case beats most. New Zealand CYF placed a girl with her uncle, a convicted sex offender. He raped the girl, as did his friend who had AIDS. The girl, now an adult, is HIV positive as is her child. The CYF response, right out of the script: "changes were made this year to ensure better checks were made". New Plymouth's Safer Family Centre counsellor Bob Stevens said he had sympathy with social workers who were often put under pressure to place an at-risk child.

Another article referred to the woman as Joanne.



Victim of rape faults CYF

A woman sexually abused after CYF placed her into the care of her uncle, a convicted rapist, believes there are many more cases like hers.

The woman and her first-born are HIV positive as a result of also being raped by her uncle's friend, who has since died of Aids.

Her claim has been backed by a prominent Taranaki sex abuse counsellor.

The woman, when a troubled Taranaki teenager, was placed in the care of her uncle, a convicted rapist, by Child, Youth and Family.

Child, Youth and Family has apologised to the woman – now in her late 20s – and said changes were made this year to ensure better checks were made.

She was removed from the uncle's home when she told her social worker about the abuse.

Yesterday the woman spoke to the Taranaki Daily News, saying she believes there were "thousands" more like herself.

CYF was unable yesterday to tell the paper how many complaints of abuse they had received.

The woman, whom the Taranaki Daily News has agreed not to name, said she was continuing to work with lawyers and TV One's Marae Investigates programme to ensure that gaps in CYF youth justice placement policies were closed. She did not want others to be abused.

The woman said both she and her child were keeping well.

New Plymouth police confirmed yesterday she was interviewed by police more than a decade ago.

New Plymouth's Safer Family Centre counsellor Bob Stevens spoke to the Taranaki Daily News yesterday, after the teenager's story was revealed on Sunday.

Mr Stevens said he had sympathy with social workers who were often put under pressure to place an at-risk child.

"I do really appreciate the difficulty that there is for social welfare agencies to find a place for a child. It's a multifaceted problem and hasn't got a simple solution.

"I'm encouraged they have put that prevention into their system rather than go on about what happened that you can't change.

"I do not believe that a social worker that I know of would deliberately throw a child to the wolves, as such, for the sake of expediency, but then sometimes expediency demands this child goes into a placement and you take the calculated risk, I suppose.

"Personally, I have dealt with too many cases to want to remember, including recently, in situations I believe were avoidable," Mr Stevens said.

"At times I've despaired at a system that has allowed a child who has been abused to be put in a placement where the abuse is ongoing by other offenders," Mr Stevens said.

Child Alert director Alan Bell said yesterday CYF assurances still left room for doubt.

"Even though this occurred some years ago in 2001, it seems incredible that such a thing could happen.

"It is an absolute travesty that a government agency could actually place a 16-year-old girl for safekeeping with a convicted sex offender.

"The New Zealand record of child abuse is dismal ... When abuse occurs after children at risk have been taken into care by a government agency the public are justified in requiring the highest standard of safeguarding them from that point on."

Source: Taranaki Daily News

Avoid Homeless Shelters

June 25, 2012 permalink

In Washington DC when you ask for admission to a homeless shelter, the staff notifies child protectors who may remove your children.



DeMorning Links: Is homelessness child abuse?

Shakieta Smith
Shakieta Smith, 25, was told she’d be investigated for child abuse for seeking space in a homeless shelter.
Michael S. Williamson - THE WASHINGTON POST

Homeless District families seeking shelter have recently gotten “chilling” warnings, Annie Gowen reports in the Post: If you can’t find a safe place to sleep, the Child and Family Services Agency could investigate you for abuse and neglect, and possibly take your kids away. No children have yet been taken from the 32 homeless families that have been investigated under the new policy, officials say, but the practice is being blasted by homeless advocates who use words like “outrage,” “heart-wrenching” and “scandalous” to describe it. David A. Berns, the city’s human services director, defends the policy: “It’s a slippery slope and it’s not what we want to do. ... But when we get down to the situation we have been in and we have no resources to place the families ... we involve all the partners we can to keep the kids safe.”

Source: Washington Post

Monster Mom Arrested

June 24, 2012 permalink

Jacole Prince has been arrested in Kansas City for starving her ten-year-old daughter and keeping her locked in a closet. This sounds like a monster parent story. But based on previous experience, there is a fifty-fifty chance that new facts will come to light changing the interpretation of the story. We will be watching.



Girl in barricaded closet | Living conditions are called ‘completely atrocious’

Mother of girl found in barricaded closet is charged with child abuse

The emaciated 10-year-old told police she had no room and no bed and sometimes went days without food.

Jacole Prince
Jacole Prince

In an apartment that reeked of urine, a Kansas City police officer called out.

“Is anyone in here?”

Neighbors had said not a soul was home. But a tiny voice answered from a barricaded closet.


Officers pushed aside a crib stuffed with blankets and shoes. Using a pocketknife, they cut open the doors that had been tied shut with a shoelace or rope.

Inside they found a 32-pound, 10-year-old girl surrounded by her own waste.

Hours after her discovery Friday morning, police tracked down her mother, Jacole Prince, 29, at her boyfriend’s place. Her two other daughters, ages 2 and 8, seemed well fed and clean by all accounts. The girls were taken into protective custody and Prince was arrested.

On Saturday, she was charged with assault, abuse of a child and endangering a child’s welfare.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker described the child’s living conditions as “completely atrocious.”

“All indicators are she spent a substantial amount of time in that room,” Baker said at a news conference.

The girl — identified only as “LP” — explained to police her appalling living conditions. According to court records, she had no room and no bed and was rarely allowed to leave the closet. And she regularly went for days without food.

She fit into a 2T shirt suited for a toddler. Her pants, a 4T, sagged on LP’s tiny frame.

Children’s Mercy Hospital officials told authorities that LP had been treated there in 2006 and weighed 26 pounds. She had gained only six pounds in the six years since that visit, court records showed.

Longtime neighbors said they had never even seen the child.

LP told officers the day she was freed from the closet that she wasn’t allowed to go out to breakfast with her mother that morning because “she messes herself.” LP told them that when she pees in her pants, her mother strikes her in the back really hard.

The little girl also told detectives that she had not left the closet for two days and does not eat every day. The child said she had not eaten Friday.

In court records, Prince acknowledged that she didn’t allow her daughter to leave the house because she was embarrassed of the girl’s appearance. She admitted that LP was so malnourished that she would probably be in trouble if someone saw her in that condition.

LP remains hospitalized.

The mother’s boyfriend, who has denied knowing that the child was confined to the closet, hasn’t been charged in the case. However, Baker did not rule out further charges because the investigation is ongoing and it is too early to say if the abuse occurred for months or years.

“But amazingly, as children tend to surprise all of us, she had very good spirits. She was very cooperative with police. She let them know she doesn’t want to go back home,” the prosecutor said.

Baker said authorities were trying to determine whether LP had ever attended school. It also wasn’t immediately clear whether LP’s living conditions had been reported to authorities before.

But Baker said an anonymous phone call probably saved the little girl’s life. Someone called the child abuse hotline for the Missouri Children’s Division. The caller said three children lived at the apartment, but one child was forced to live inside a closet.

The state agency notified police. When they arrived at the apartment in the 1300 block of Highland Avenue, Prince wasn’t home.

Authorities asked neighbors about the mother and three girls.

“She only has two daughters that stay here,” a neighbor told police.

After announcing the charges Saturday, Baker urged people to use the hotline whenever they suspect abuse.

“Friday was really a tremendous day where the hotline was used. Law enforcement was engaged and this little girl was literally saved from a horrendous situation,” she said.

Everyone must be vigilant in reporting neglect and abuse, said Roxane Hill, vice president of development at the Children’s Place in Kansas City. The nonprofit agency helps abused and neglected children.

Hill urged people to call authorities even if they are only suspicious a child is being mistreated.

“Call the hotline. Let them know,” Hill said. “It’s everybody’s task in this community to care for children.”

Source: Kansas City Star

Here are more facts. The girl LP was removed from the care of her mother for a year, then returned.



How a malnourished girl got help from the system, then vanished

The court, social workers, a hospital and a school all tried to help. And still the child called LP vanished for six years, until she turned up locked in a closet.

Veronica Johnson
Veronica Johnson (left) and her Highland Avenue community neighbors held a candlelight prayer Wednesday night for the 10-year-old, 32-pound girl who was found by authorities June 22. “We have to wake up and say something,” she shouted during the vigil. “Closed mouths don’t do nothing.”
Susan Pfannmuller

Six years ago, Jacole Prince admitted that she intentionally withheld food from her 4-year-old daughter to keep her from going to the bathroom too often.

The girl weighed just 26 pounds, the size many babies reach at 18 months. Already malnourished, and continuing to lose weight, she had to be hospitalized.

The state of Missouri said then, in early 2006, that Prince had neglected to properly care for her daughter. The girl and her younger sister were removed from the mother’s home, according to Jackson County Family Court records obtained by The Star. Before Prince could get her daughters back, she’d have to complete a list of requirements set by the state.

In just over a year, she apparently did. By March 2007, when the older girl was in kindergarten, the state deemed Prince a better mom and returned both girls to her.

A month later, the older girl stopped going to her school and dropped out of sight. It was as if she never existed. Authorities believe now that the girl was locked away inside her mother’s apartment. They allege she was often kept in a closet, struck with a fist when she soiled herself and not allowed to play outside or attend school.

A child whose neglect had brought her into contact with state social workers and family court officials, who had been treated at a hospital for malnutrition and who had attended school, had been all but forgotten.

Until the call.

On June 22, a state child welfare worker and Kansas City police officers followed up on a hotline tip about a little girl locked in a closet who was not allowed out to eat or use the bathroom. The call led authorities to 1318 Highland Ave., apartment No. 11.

Neighbors told them that Prince lived there with two little girls, ages 2 and 8, who were well-fed and well-dressed, who had bikes and scooters and who went to school and played with other children in the apartments at T.B. Watkins Homes. Authorities persisted, though.

Inside the two-bedroom apartment, they found the third daughter, now 10, in a second-floor closet amid her own urine and feces. She had no light, no toys, no bed in the tiny space. The closet’s two doors had been tied with a rope or large shoestring. A portable crib had been shoved into place as a barricade.

“This is one of the most serious cases I have seen,” Family Court commissioner Molly Merrigan said four days after the girl, called “LP” in police records, was rescued.

She weighed just 32 pounds. She had many scars and bruises, evidence of physical abuse, authorities say.

When Prince was arrested, she told authorities that she put her daughter in the closet when she had to leave the house, according to court documents.

LP told authorities that the closet was her room, where she’d be locked in for days at a time. She said she wasn’t allowed to eat every day.

She said she didn’t want to go home again.

Though officials with the Department of Social Services say they can’t confirm that Children’s Division caseworkers ever worked with the Prince family, court records show the extent of involvement the state had in 2006 and 2007.

Once Prince got her children back, there’s no record in the court file of another hotline call or incident that involved the state or family court. As far as child-protection authorities knew, their work was done.

“There’s no system in place for us to watch all children” all the time, said Mary Marquez, juvenile officer with Jackson County Family Court.

“Unless we were to follow every case forever, until every child is 18.”

She said people who ask how these types of tragedies can occur should be putting the question to the adults who were in the house.

Yet many still see LP’s case as one in which a child slipped through the cracks. They wonder how, after being in the system and protected for a year, this girl couldn’t be saved from apparent years of abuse.

They question how a child could vanish inside apartment No. 11.

“Why didn’t anyone go looking for her, check on her?” said Tameika Johnson, who lives across the courtyard from Prince and talked with the mom nearly every day, but who didn’t know about LP. “Why didn’t they look into why she wasn’t at school? … Why didn’t the hospital where she was treated check on her?”

Sitting on the ledge outside her apartment, Johnson looked up at No. 11.

“How does a little girl disappear? I’ve been asking myself that.”

In the system

Prince was 18 when LP was born. Her birth certificate doesn’t name her father.

Two years later, another little girl came along. And by the time Prince was 22, in late January 2006, she found herself at Children’s Mercy Hospital with LP, who was tiny and severely underweight. Many doctors consider a child’s measurements, including weight and head circumference, as important as blood pressure and other vital statistics.

According to court records, the hospital had diagnosed the girl three months earlier with failure to thrive. Children’s Mercy had set up treatment appointments for her, but records show Prince failed to show up with her daughter. She didn’t return to Children’s Mercy until Jan. 31, when LP required hospitalization.

The two children were removed from Prince’s custody and soon were placed in the care of Marcus Benson, her boyfriend and the father of her younger daughter. (The couple would later have another child, who will turn 3 in September.)

During that time, LP started kindergarten. Years later, when authorities rescued her from the closet, she would talk about the times she played on the school playground.

At first, LP and her sister saw their mother only during supervised visits. But by mid-June, Prince was allowed to see the girls without supervision, including overnight visits, records show.

As they lived with Benson, Prince worked with the Children’s Division toward reunification. According to her attorney at the time, Prince was doing everything she needed to do to get her daughters back home.

One of the last requirements she needed to fulfill was finding a place for her family to live, and according to court records she moved into T.B. Watkins in January 2007.

“… Jacole Prince has actively followed the direction of the Children’s Division since that time,” her attorney wrote in a late February 2007 motion for the case to be released from family court. “There appear to be no further services that the children are in need of from the court … which the mother is not able to provide without jurisdiction of the court.”

In early March 2007, the Family Court ruled that the children should be reunited with Prince and released the family from court jurisdiction.

Generally speaking, observers said, the court often continues to supervise cases for at least a short period of time when a family is first reunited.

The Family Court’s juvenile office didn’t oppose reunification.

“I do believe from the information we had then, we believed the Children’s Division would maintain an open case on the family,” said Marquez, who has been with the Jackson County Family Court since 1987. She said once a case is released from court jurisdiction her office is no longer involved and can’t know what follow-up occurs.

The Missouri Department of Social Services is prohibited from commenting about specific cases, spokeswoman Rebecca Woelfel said. Even though parts of the Prince case file in Family Court are public record, she said, state law prohibits her agency from discussing any details.

She would say only that “the Missouri Department of Social Services strongly encourages anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect to call our toll-free hotline at 1-800-392-3738. The Missouri child abuse and neglect hotline is answered 24 hours a day, every day, all year round.”

In and out of school

At 5, LP started kindergarten at Woodland Elementary School in August 2006, according to the Kansas City Public Schools.

She didn’t finish the school year, dropping off the enrollment list in April 2007.

District officials said they couldn’t say whether calls were made to inquire about the child’s absence or to learn if Prince had made other arrangements for the child.

The district has gone through such massive upheaval since then that there is no one left in administration to explain the practical application of its truancy guidelines in 2007, said district spokeswoman Eileen Houston-Stewart.

This August, a new truancy plan with several layers of checks and balances will go into effect, Stewart said.

“We are tracking students from day one,” she said.

Teams made up of social workers, attendance specialists and truancy officers will follow up with phone calls and visits when children do not have an excused absence. Truancy officers, who are Kansas City police officers, will write tickets to parents who don’t send their child to school.

Typically, school districts put considerable energy into tracking teenagers because they directly affect graduation rates. But the new Kansas City program will target every student in preschool through 12th grade, she said.

Sometimes the best checks fail, said Jim Caccamo, who oversees the Head Start preschool program in Kansas City.

“We are often quick to be negative, particularly with the Kansas City, Missouri, school district,” he said. “But it could be that the kindergarten teacher did follow up and was told something that was very plausible.”

Someone who sets out to deceive won’t be caught off-guard by a phone call, Caccamo said. “ ‘Oh, we’re so glad you called to ask about her. She’s now living in Tuscaloosa with her father,’ ” he offered as one possible fib.

No truancy plan is foolproof, he said.

“If somebody wants to hide a kid in a closet,” Caccamo said, “they’re not going to give you answers to the questions you asked.”

Some residents at T.B. Watkins say Prince told them she had an older daughter who lived with her father. She told others that the girl’s father was dead and the child lived with an aunt.

Maintenance workers at Watkins conduct at least one inspection a year, going through apartments to ensure everything works. That includes opening closets and checking door hinges.

Since November, crews had been inside Prince’s apartment three times, twice for inspections and once in March to replace a water heater in a downstairs utility closet. Each time maintenance workers need to go inside an apartment, residents must receive 48 hours’ notice, unless it’s an emergency such as a fire or burst water pipe.

“Our staff has assured us when they were in the unit, there was nothing to indicate there was anything wrong,” said Edwin Lowndes, executive director of the Housing Authority of Kansas City, which owns and maintains the public housing complex.

Lowndes said the maintenance and property staff had no way of knowing that a child allegedly was being abused.

“It’s a devastating situation,” he said. “The reaction from the staff is like, ‘How could anyone do this to a child?’ … There was never any indication this was happening. Nothing to indicate a child was living in a closet.”

Though her neighbors didn’t know about LP, Prince stated on her current housing application that she had three children.

When the water heater was replaced in March, the maintenance worker did see three children in the apartment. One lay on the sofa, covered by a blanket.

‘Anyone in here?’

Longtime neighbors told police not to bother on June 22.

They wouldn’t find anyone home inside apartment No. 11, the neighbors said, because Prince and her two little girls had left 20 minutes before.

What about her third daughter?

“No, we have lived here for several years and she only has two daughters that stay here,” a neighbor said, according to court documents.

The state worker was insistent. Police officers eventually told the Housing Authority staff to get a key.

They searched the first floor, then started up the stairs. As they reached the second floor, the stench of urine overwhelmed the officers, the prosecutor said later.

One bedroom had no bed — just a portable crib stuffed with blankets and shoes and pushed against the closet doors. They saw the doors were tied shut.

“Is anyone in here?” they called.

A small voice answered, “Yes.”

An ambulance took LP to Children’s Mercy Hospital.

She wears a toddler’s 2T shirt. Her 4T pants sag on her tiny frame. In the six years since her last visit to the hospital, a doctor told the prosecutor, LP had gained just six pounds.

She was diagnosed again with failure to thrive, but this time she also had multiple injuries that were healing, according to authorities. She had sores on her head, scars and bruises across her body from being beaten, according to court documents.

Family Court commissioner Merrigan commended the police officers and Children’s Division worker who found LP.

“She and the cops wouldn’t leave,” Merrigan said. “They saved that child’s life.”

Officials at Children’s Mercy said they could not speak about the case.

But there is clear protocol at the hospital anytime abuse or neglect is suspected. An entire team of social workers, nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians and others works inside a special clinic within the hospital. A back door allows patients to come directly from the emergency room into the clinic, said Amy Terreros, who is the lead nurse practitioner for the child abuse clinic.

The first contact usually is a social worker. They’re the ones who typically make hotline calls because of their ability to more easily track the case.

“They’re just kind of the gatekeepers,” Terreros said.

Medical providers ask the child basic questions to help guide the physical examination. The clinic leaves forensic interviews to others.

Children 2 or under receive a full skeletal X-ray in case they can’t communicate about an injury.

If physical abuse is established, medical providers at the clinic ask to examine their siblings as well.

Should a parent later skip or cancel an appointment at the child abuse clinic, the scheduler automatically notifies the physician or social worker, who follows up. If the problem continues, the Children’s Division is notified.

“Other than that, we can’t do anything to force the parent to bring the child in. That is in the hands of Children’s Division,” Terreros said.

In the end, a survivor

Those who thought they knew Prince best, the other moms living at the housing complex, have spent several days feeling guilty, wondering how they could have missed this.

Should they have asked Prince more about the little girl some thought was living with another relative? Should they have asked to go inside her apartment, even though Prince never wanted anyone inside?

And what about that soft tapping on the wall a next-door neighbor sometimes heard? Was that little LP reaching out?

Some want to see Prince. Tell her that she’s not alone. Ask her why she couldn’t confide in the people who are more like family than neighbors.

“I would love to talk to her, tell her that Miss Cinthea would have been there for her, all the time,” said Cinthea Williams, who lived in neighborhood since 1997 before moving about two years ago. She still cooks for the children at the adjacent Clymer Community Center and calls all the kids at T.B. Watkins “my babies.”

She said she saw LP’s younger sisters twice a day this summer, for breakfast and lunch.

Williams sees the pain inside the housing complex. Women there help each other out, she says. Watch each others’ children, feed them if there’s not enough food at home. They don’t judge, she said, just support.

On Wednesday, as darkness fell, about 50 people gathered at the complex’s basketball courts to light candles for LP.

Randall Gilmore Sr., who said he has raised his own children as a single dad, organized the vigil.

“Hold up your heads knowing you did the best you could,” he told dozens, including some who wiped tears from their eyes. “Keep on doing what you do.”

Finding the girl in the closet has changed many people. Some of Prince’s neighbors have vowed to pay closer attention and reach out to struggling moms.

“We have to wake up and say something,” Veronica Johnson shouted to others at the vigil. “Closed mouths don’t do nothing.”

That’s a point authorities want to emphasize: For all the system’s checks, family members and neighbors are often the best eyes and ears when a child is being abused.

Meanwhile, the investigation is continuing, the Jackson County prosecutor’s office said Friday.

Prince has been charged with three felony counts: assault, abuse of a child and child endangerment. A not-guilty plea was entered for her, and she is being held on a $200,000 cash-only bond.

Benson has been questioned by authorities but has not been charged. He declined to comment.

The process has begun to sever their parental rights.

For their part, members of the Housing Authority maintenance and property staffs have asked for more training. They’d like workers with the Children’s Division to refresh them on telltale signs of abuse and neglect.

“I don’t think they dropped the ball in any way,” said Lowndes, of the Housing Authority. “But you can always improve.”

Others want to help LP, eager to know how she’s doing and where they can send donations. They want her to know that people care.

“We have to stop mourning,” Gilmore told the group. “This should be a celebration. She came out in rags, but she didn’t come out in a body bag.”

Source: Kansas City Star

Addendum: In May 2013 Missouri DSS send a large batch of documents to the press, telling their side of the story. The girl LP was the daughter of Jacole Prince and a father now jailed. The two younger sisters are the children of Jacole and her new partner Marcus Benson. The two younger girls were well cared for, only LP was starved.

Walk Canceled

June 23, 2012 permalink

Two weeks ago fixcas mentioned the planned walk across Ontario by David Roblin. The walk has been canceled owing to lack of support. Of the thousands of Ontarians negatively impacted by family law and CAS, only a handful volunteered to help. The video is on YouTube or local copy (mp4).

Editorials for Ombudsman

June 23, 2012 permalink

Earlier we reported a batch of editorials supporting ombudsman oversight of children's aid, all from Prince Edward County. Now support for expanding the ombudsman's mandate is spreading. Enclosed are editorials in the Ottawa Citizen, Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal, London Free Press, Sudbury Star, Kingston Whig-Standard, Barrie Examiner, St Catharines Standard, Brantford Expositor, North Bay Nugget (two articles), Sarnia Observer, Woodstock Sentinel Review, Welland Tribune, Niagara Advance, Niagara Falls Review, St Thomas Times-Journal, Clinton News Record, Bancroft This Week, Paris Star, Lakeshore Advance, Lucknow Sentinel, Amherstburg Echo, Seaforth Huron Expositor and Strathroy Age Dispatch.



Give Marin the power

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin is the watchdog people turn to when they have complaints about provincial government services. Last year, there were 18,000 complaints about a wide variety of government ministries.

Marin is noted for his searing examinations of how government does its job, but there are vast territories where he can offer the public no assistance. Hospitals, school boards, children’s aid societies, universities and municipalities are all beyond his reach. Despite that well-known fact, the ombudsman still received more than 2,500 public complaints about the broader public sector last year.

Marin would like the power to help people when they have problems with the wide array of taxpayer-funded organizations that provide direct service for which the public pays billions of dollars. It seems a reasonable request and Marin is not alone in wanting it. Since 2005, there have been nine private-member’s bills calling for more ombudsman oversight. All have been defeated. In the same period, there have been 65 petitions asking for the same thing, 16 of them last year alone.

In fact, ombudsmen have been asking for expanded powers since the first one was appointed 37 years ago.

In other provinces, ombudsmen do have the power to examine most or all of the areas Marin wants added to his list. Only Ontario shields this broad range of institutions from the ombudsman.

Marin attributes that to the lobbying power of institutions that don’t want his scrutiny, particularly hospitals and children’s aid societies. It’s an indefensible position. Groups that take public money should be open to public examination.

Giving Ontario’s ombudsman the jurisdiction that his provincial peers have would mean adding about 60 jobs to the current total of 90, but Marin suggests the positions be taken from government ministries, which provide less aggressive oversight now.

There is some hope. Marin says Premier Dalton McGuinty has agreed to meet him and discuss broadening the ombudsman’s powers. That’s a start, but expanding the ombudsman’s role is long overdue. There is really no argument against it.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Open wide these windows

IT IS SAID, and is undoubtedly true, that while senior governments set the rules from afar, it is local governments that are closest to the people. You can phone your city councillor right now, but try getting a timely answer to your question about issues governed by the provincial or federal legislation. Your MPP or MP will take your question and their offices can often settle basic issues. But the size and complexity of senior public bureaucracy usually makes for a long and frustrating process for those with the inclination to even try.

In Ontario, the ombudsman was appointed to find answers and settle disputes in cases where citizens have issues with provincial ministries. Ironically, ministries with offices that most closely affect citizens in their own communities remain beyond the purview of the ombudsman.

In his annual report this week, Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin repeated his earlier insistence — and those of his predecessors — that the so-called MUSH sector be brought under his spotlight.

Does it make any sense at all that municipalities, universities, school boards and hospitals do not have to answer to the ombudsman on behalf of the people of Ontario? These are the government services most often used by most people and yet, in Marin’s words, they remain without “the important check and balance of ombudsman oversight.”

Government spends tens of billions of dollars each year funding these institutions, as well as children’s aid societies, long-term care homes and police. These organizations “have a profound and immediate effect on the lives and welfare of individual citizens,” Marin said. “They impact Ontarians where they work, live and play, and when they are at their most vulnerable.”

And yet they remain purposely out of his ability to look into their operations because government refuses to allow it. Marin said that Ontario remains dead last when it comes to giving the ombudsman authority in these “zones of immunity.”

What’s more, Marin warned, the government’s budget bill passed this week will allow for more privatization of public services, removing them, too, from his scrutiny.

Last year, Marin received 18,541 complaints — up 27 per cent from 2010-11 — but was not able to investigate a record 2,539 related to the so-called MUSH sector because such institutions fall beyond his jurisdiction. It is clear, then, that Ontarians are experiencing more difficulty getting answers from the public institutions they use most often and pay the most for, because administrators who can hide behind whatever wall they care to erect to protect their operations.

NDP MPP France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) had it right when she said the system we have in place right now is not much better than a suggestion box.

Among the more frustrating calls here come from parents and other family members concerned with apparently arbitrary removal of children from family homes. While no one should doubt the value of public offices in place to protect children, the number of complaints suggests legitimate issues beyond obvious personal emotions. These people are often as frustrated by the fact that no one will talk to them as they are at having lost a child to the system.

Municipal governments make decisions every day that directly affect many people and sometimes they raise questions that need the surveillance of an office with the resources of the ombudsman. Same with hospitals, school boards and universities — all off limits to Marin.

Premier Dalton McGuinty said he’s open to discussing Marin’s complaints. That’s a start, but there needs to be a firm commitment from McGuinty to open the window on these essential but sometimes secretive public institutions.

Source: Chronicle-Journal (Thunder Bay)

Serve MUSH to Ombudsman and taxpayers would benefit

In government, the buck stops with cabinet ministers. That's why they call it ministerial accountability. What often triggers it, is not so much internal government safeguards against screw-ups and abuse of power, though they help, but political pressure applied by the opposition and the media.

In the corporate world, it's a company's chief executive and board of directors that carry the can.

When they need to be held to account, it's typically shareholders, a board's audit committee or outside market regulators that hold their feet to the fire.

With Queen's Park increasingly involved in corporate approaches to government, everything from public-private partnerships for new roads and hospitals, to setting up arm's-length agencies to provide services at less cost, it's time to step up the oversight on behalf of taxpayers, maybe by borrowing a page from the corporate world.

Too often in recent years, we've seen ministerial accountability diluted--by recalcitrant ministers unwilling to walk the plank, stonewalling governments or spin-doctoring on the public's dime.

Ornge, eHealth, the lottery corporation -- the fiascos under the Liberals' watch -- make a mockery of existing checks and balances.

Against that backdrop, Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin -- the average citizen's only truly independent government watchdog--has made the entirely reasonable suggestion his jurisdiction be extended to include municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals, the so-called MUSH sector.

It consumes billions in taxpayer dollars a year, and involves many of the services that most affect average Ontarians.

While the premier's office is said to be open to the idea, it should be embracing it with more enthusiasm. Given the government's budget woes, and growing acceptance of privatizing some services to help whip its $15 billion deficit, expanded oversight for the ombudsman would be both a wise practical and optical investment.

Expanding the ombudsman's power isn't a matter of tossing a bureaucrat a bone; it's a matter of giving taxpayers government accountability they can sink their teeth into, something that'll surely be needed if they're asked to swallow more corporate approaches to whipping Ontario's books into shape.

Source: London Free Press

The same editorial by Greg Van Moorsel of the London Free Press appeared in the following publications:

Source: Sudbury Star

Source: Kingston Whig-Standard

Source: Barrie Examiner

Source: St Catharines Standard

Source: Brantford Expositor

Source: North Bay Nugget

Source: Sarnia Observer

Source: Woodstock Sentinel Review

Source: Welland Tribune

Source: Niagara Advance

Source: Niagara Falls Review

Source: St Thomas Times-Journal

Source: Clinton News Record

Source: Bancroft This Week

Source: Paris Star

Source: Lakeshore Advance

Source: Lucknow Sentinel

Source: Amherstburg Echo

Source: Seaforth Huron Expositor

Source: Strathroy Age Dispatch


Ombudsman needed to fix LHIN mess

A letter to Deb Matthews, Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care:

Dear Ms. Matthews:

You don’t know me from a hole in the ground, but I’m assured we share friends who can fill you in.

Their recommendations may not be unanimously favourable but if you give me a few minutes out of your busy schedule, maybe we can fix that.

Let me start off with a tip of the Stetson for your efforts in getting a little of the swamp drained in spite of being knee deep in alligators.

No one in the history of government this side of Barack Obama ever inherited a swamp as deep and full of muck as the one that became your very own at Ontario’s health ministry.

Scandals such as eHealth and Ornge can be traced to your predecessors.

So it’s hard not to sympathize as you do your best to muddle through.

But getting back to the subject of the day (that would be me), folks will tell you I am small “c” conservative by nature.

Therefore, of all the ideas I might come up with for you, hiring more bureaucrats for the ministry of health would be suggestion No. 999.9 on a list of 1,000.

Under normal circumstances I’d be more likely to part with one of my beloved mules than to say you need more staff.

However, pretend for a sec that I’m a politician and I’ll ignore some basic conservative principles in favour of a little bit of personal gain.

You do need one more staff member in your ministry, an ombudsman to deal with issues related to Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).

This particular alligator reared its ugly head last week after I pointed out in this column the inadequate way in which the southwest LHIN has handled the issue of palliative care in the Grey, Bruce, Owen Sound area.

It would be an exaggeration to say I have been inundated with responses.

But I have received a number from writers who have had dealings with the mid-level bureaucrats that populate LHIN offices across the province.

And each letter provides details of a problem that has resulted in higher health care costs or lower quality care, or some combination of the two.

None of the responses was a quick one-liner, so oft-received by columnists.

These were detailed missives spelling out issues and laying the blame — clearly.

Since I wasn’t born yesterday (there’s lots of evidence of that), I understand the challenges you face in dealing with these kinds of issues.

The very name LHIN has become a political football, albeit a football you are not allowed to just kick down the road.

So the answer for you would be to hire an ombudsman to deal with these complaints.

In this regard I offer you my services with the understanding I will do this job at low cost.

I won’t need an administrative assistant, chauffeur, panelled corner office or any other spiffs normally associated with government work. I’ll just open the phone and e-mail lines to these complainants, and do some football kicking of my own to solve the problems.

(Not being in politics I can get away with that sort of thing.)

Please consider this application at your earliest convenience.

If my mail is a true indication, the LHINs must be stopped before they commit any more health care havoc in the province.


Your humble servant, etc.

Source: North Bay Nugget

Homolka in Tropical Paradise

June 22, 2012 permalink

Canadian child protectors have taken thousands of children from parents for frivolous reasons. So what does Canada do to a real child abuser, one who has murdered three girls? Karla Homolka has a new identity and is living in Guadeloupe with her own three children.



Homolka in Caribbean, new book says

A new book says child-sex killer Karla Homolka is in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and now lives under a new name with three children of her own.

Journalist Paula Todd's book, Finding Karla: How I Tracked Down an Elusive Serial Child Killer and Discovered a Mother of Three, was released Thursday as a 40-page ebook.

This past spring, Todd travelled to Guadeloupe where she says she found Homolka, who now goes by the name of Leanne Bordelais.

In the book, Todd talks about how she arrived on the island and searched the phone book for Homolka.

"Of course, I hardly expect Homolka to have a listing, but you can't make assumptions. People, as I will soon discover, often slip up on the simplest things," she writes.

Homolka served 12 years for manslaughter for her part in the sex slayings of Kristen French, 15, and Leslie Mahaffy, 14, after agreeing to testify against her partner, Paul Bernardo. She has also been accused in her sister's rape and murder.

"Homolka walked free in 2005 to restart her life in the city of Montreal. Two years later, Karla Homolka simply vanished," Todd wrote.

Much of the book rehashes the crimes, for which Bernardo is serving life in prison without parole.

Through Internet searches, Todd learned Homolka may be teaching school children in the Caribbean. She also knew Homolka was linked at one time to Thierry Bordelais -- the brother of Homolka's lawyer, Sylvie Bordelais -- who also fathered a child with her when she was still in Montreal.

"My bet was that, with angry neighbours and unrelenting media on her tail, Homolka was looking for a hideaway outside of Canada and would have to use a legal name for immigration," Todd wrote. "That left 'Leanne,' her legal middle name, and 'Bordelais,' the family name of her baby's father."

During her online searches, Todd found a "routine administrative certificate" saying Leanne Bordelais was, indeed, living in the Caribbean.

It was when she was forced onto a gravel side road in a remote area after her rental car failed to keep up with local drivers, that Todd discovered a metal mailbox with the name Leanne Bordelais written in black ink.

"The 'Leanne Bordelais' mailbox is certainly promising but also incredibly careless, if she is in hiding," Todd notes.

She returned to her hotel room and changed her clothes, then hired a cab driver to take her back. In the house, Todd met an older couple who led her to an apartment.

"The wall I am standing beside has a little framed window, wide open. I look through it into a tiny, tidy kitchen. There, bent over the sink, is a petite woman with light hair. She turns her face sideways to see who's arriving. Then she freezes," Todd writes.

"I have found Karla Homolka, and I'm not sure which of us is more shocked."

Todd noted Homolka, 42, is slimmer than she was during her days in prison, her sandy beige hair pulled back into a ponytail.

"She has a light-caramel tan and wears little makeup," Todd said, adding there's no truth to rumours Homolka has gone under the knife.

"For the most part, she looks exactly the same as she did when a Montreal television reporter briefly spoke with her in 2006."

Thierry Bordelais joined her and together, they formed a human wall, which Todd said hid three children from her view -- two boys and a girl.

"One son I was prepared for, but does the woman who killed three children now have three of her own?" Todd writes.

Homolka invited Todd in. At one point, as they sat together after barely speaking, the children came into the room.

Todd watched Homolka interact with them, nursing the baby, and said Homolka appears "to be an excellent mother."

"That's funny that you think you can judge that after seeing me this short time," Homolka responded.

Over the course of an hour, Homolka asked Todd to repeat her six questions three times.

"We go for stretches saying nothing at all, just watching and encouraging her children as they play," Todd writes.

Then, Bordelais returned and whispered something to his wife in French.

"And then, everything changes," Todd wrote.

The couple went into a bedroom where they had a loud discussion. After a few minutes, Bordelais left the bedroom with a portable phone, their lawyer on the other end.

When Homolka returned to the room with Todd, she ended the interview.

"A long time ago, I said that I would never speak to anybody and I'm going to maintain that," Homolka told Todd, adding she doesn't trust journalists and no one cares about where she is or what she's doing.

"Nobody cares, and everything I've said is off the record," Homolka says.

Source: Welland Tribune

Addendum: Testifying on October 17, 2014 in the trial of Luka Rocco Magnotta, Karla's sister Logan Valentini, formerly named Lori Homolka, said that Karla, now known as Renée Bordelais, is now living in Quebec with her husband Thierry Bordelais.

Guadeloupe beach


June 22, 2012 permalink

James Thompson photo
click for much larger photo

James Thompson, age 13, is missing from North Bay and is presumed to be in his former hometown of Sudbury. The police release says nothing of the boy's living arrangement, but it looks like a runaway foster child.



Missing Person James THOMPSON

Greater Sudbury Police Service is requesting the public’s assistance in locating a missing 13 year old, James Thompson (02 Aug 1998).

He was last seen in North Bay on June19th , 2012 at 1150 hours as he did not return home. James is familiar with Sudbury as he used to reside here and it is believed he is in the Sudbury area.

He is described as male, white, 5’4, 100lbs., long shaggy blonde hair, blue eyes. He was wearing a grey t-shirt with red insignia on the front, baggy jeans, black running shoes and is carrying a black and grey backpack.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of is asked to call Police or Crime Stoppers at 222-TIPS (8477), online at or by texting TIPSUD and the information to CRIMES (274637).

Source: Greater Sudbury Police Service

Thoughts on CAS Reform Efforts

June 22, 2012 permalink

Greg Holden of the CK Review uses the occasion of the broken windows at Chatham-Kent CAS to comment on the entire effort to draw attention to the abuses of CAS, and to effect reform.



CAS protest leaders disown breaking windows

Chatham-Kent CAS broken windows
How divided are local protesters on the use of vigilantism?
Photo CKReview

Sometimes columns just write themselves. I sit and watch, and lo and behold my sight is drawn to something so compelling that I cannot turn away. That describes my Thursday as I sweltered my way through a mesmerizing display of mixed messages by CAS protesters. Most of these people disowned the notion of breaking some windows to make their point, but the underlying feeling was that breaking the law this way was understandable, excusable and trivialized.

There is no evidence at all that three broken windows at the CIS building in Chatham was anything other than a random event. In a Facebook page dedicated to CAS protesters, yours truly broke the story of the broken windows and asked if the event was random, and if not then how it would be good to hear from those who can explain taking the law into their own hands. The unfolding dilemma tore at the very fabric of this community that strives for legitimacy. Most of these people have had their children taken away or have been so closely affected that it adds up the same. Their lives are often in ruins and they live with resentment and anger constantly. Imagine seeing grave injustice in the face of every child you ever see, and knowing you can’t see your own. For whatever reason that someone loses custody of their child, the fallout is immeasurable.

An Ongoing Issue

The problem now is that children’s aid societies are privatized and there is no oversight of them. They are not government bodies, they are privately run businesses. Protesters complain that CAS are paid per child. I have heard them quote $90,000 for a full adoption to be complete beginning to end. That leaves CAS agencies very motivated in the eyes of the protesters, who address CAS as CA$. Every Ombudsman in Ontario since the 1970′s has sought oversight of the CAS and never gotten it. Every other province in Canada has oversight.

At CAS protests you can mingle and meet with protesters, they are happy to talk. Mothers and fathers united on the street, they have nothing to hide. A common problem is that their case is before the court so they do not wish to be named. I made video recordings of passionate pleas for help from people who are afraid to have it shown. These people have good jobs, they have been pillars of the community quite literally. And they have had enough of the current Children’s Aid system. The protesters are adamant, driven and defensive. Those who take to the streets are empowered, taking charge, and in many instances will probably overcome the odds and restore what there is left of their family lives.


Then there are those with less hope. To them the government is not helping, the police are not helping, the courts, the crown, the press, even the protests can’t help them. They may have lost their children or not, just that they feel so harassed by the process and that no-one is listening. This is where vigilantism is born. It doesn’t need to be about the bricks through the windows here in Chatham. Extremist views do exist in very small and isolated pockets of the CAS protesters community, independent of the windows.

Neil Haskett, who runs an online social group and speaks often on behalf of the movement immediately and unreservedly distanced the group from acts like breaking windows. As expected, the leadership gave good reasons not to go that route. He challenged followers to consider that no gains have ever been made that way and chastises the notion entirely. Clearly very sensitive to the issue, he found time to “lol” a comment that suggested a mistake was made by leaving the building standing. Haskett pulled his lol, when it became clear the member of the group was serious. The internet being what it is, the difference in opinion was clear, and this is where the story wrote itself.

An Unexpected Turn

“If someone is taking away your home and your children then I think that you are quite justified in behaving violently towards them.”, said Paul, a user of the group. “The consequences for many families are very dire and lifelong.” Another woman suggested she would do an interview on supporting vigilantism, but didn’t. Paul however continued along, “Just because something is legal (sanctioned by a corrupt court), this does not make it moral.” An appeal to separate the difference between legal rights and moral rights, with their moral right being the last word that decides whether violence is acceptable. “Politicians are deaf to our complaints, one ombudsman office will make little to no difference. CAS agencies should be tried in the world court at Le Hague as crimes against humanity.” Finally an appeal to the greater community, part of the subtext to any vigilante. Make no mistake, these are a call to arms.

Chris Carter from Canada Court Watch declared he would never break a window. “I would never do anything like break the CA$s windows nor counsel others to take such action. In fact were anyone to come to me with such a proposal (and nobody ever has) I would argue against it. That being said I’m very surprised this type of action hasn’t been happening more often. I argue that the fact that we haven’t responded to their ugly criminality with criminality is one of our strongest positions. They destroy. We protest.” Carter assists families in need with legal and peer support, often soon after their children have been taken away. He acts as one of the leading representatives, particularly in Chatham-Kent. Carter then went on to write, “Were I to come into possession of such info about this umm “crime”: I can’t imagine a situation where I would volunteer information about it. Remember the Underground Railroad was completely and totally illegal but it was also unimpeachably correct, courageous and one of the most moral responses possible to the disgusting fraud of slavery.” Carter had a new angle where he wouldn’t do it, he would tell people not to do it, but if he found out about it he wouldn’t report it. His reasons for looking the other way are justified by what Paul used to defend the violence itself. Morality, his morality, trumps the legal system.

CAS Protesters Rarely Agree With Vigilantism

If this article leaves an impression the whole group thinks that way it would be a serious misconception; by far most of the people who protest the CAS would never support criminal acts. They have good reason not to, they are winning the hearts and minds of politicians and the general public. Pat Niagara, one of the leaders of rallies in Niagara Falls, was explicit in his condemnation, saying, “We here in Niagara would absolutely not condone any of this type of behaviour. Criminal acts would get reported as we are on the side of the truth.” Without saying what condoning exactly was he continued, “By condoning these acts it is sending the wrong message to the public that violence is the answer. As much as we all feel like smashing some windows at times, and we may have all felt like that, it is childish behaviour like this that will set this movement back.”

Haskett was just as sincere in suggesting that police or CAS workers may be behind the broken windows, and more than one protester suggested the same thing. I tried to remind everyone that no-one knows if the windows were simply broken by a drunk passerby who didn’t know or care who owned the window. No matter, the story had a life of its own.

The last thing the CAS protesters need is to portray themselves as an out-of-control mob. Pat Niagara and Neil Haskett had it right. Chris Carter almost had it right. Guys like Paul (last name not used) had it wrong. The leaders of this loosely knit organization need to emphasize, without the mixed messages, to members like Paul and others who think vigilantism is ok, that political movement is at hand, change is on the way, and the hope that exists is real. They know the endless hours they have put into making change, and what is at stake, and they keep their eye on the ball. But have they lost track of some of their members?

The police may never catch whoever broke those windows. I hope they do catch them and the culprit has nothing to do with the protesters. However those who support breaking the law, in revenge for what injustices they experience through the legal system, are among the most dangerous of our citizens and must be stopped.

Back at the CKReview… harassing comments started in response to the report of the broken windows that was linked to the Facebook page, and my comments about writing this article. Karen Robinet and myself were named as spies for the CAS. Next time I see her we will share some Sherlock Holmes lines and laugh. Thing is she will get to be Holmes.

Source: CK Review

Crown Wards taken from Obese Father

June 21, 2012 permalink

Mark MacDiarmid with family
click for larger picture

The children of an obese father will be placed for adoption following a court decision Wednesday. The CBC reporter does not use the words, but his children must now be crown wards. The father has identified himself on Facebook as Mark MacDiarmid. According to the press, he will be starting a hunger strike.



Obese man's sons being put up for adoption

Man plans hunger strike at Parliament Hill to protest court's ruling

obese father
Two young sons of an obese Ottawa man are being put up for adoption after a Wednesday court ruling.

Two sons of an obese Ottawa father who lost supervised visits in a court decision Wednesday will be put up for adoption.

The man and his children cannot be named due to provisions of the Child and Family Services Act.

He admits to smoking marijuana habitually and to sometimes becoming violent in the past, but never with his children, who have special needs.

He said he's gone through counselling and anger management, and that he'll continue to push for the right to see his children.

Man plans hunger strike on Friday at Parliament Hill

The man said by phone Wednesday night that the judge brought up his weight during the ruling, as well as his hatred for women, which the man denies.

He said the judge said it would be a full-time job to lose weight, and another full-time job to care for the two active boys.

He said the ruling also prohibits him from contacting any Children's Aid Society workers for the next two years.

The man said he plans to start a hunger strike on Friday and create a website about his struggles.

"I'm going on a hunger strike to bring attention to not just my situation, but definitely my situation is paramount," he said. "My children need to know the lengths which I am willing to go to at least have a chance at raising them, and I'm going to go for as long as I possibly can. And while I'm on the Hill I'm going to let people know what the situation really is.

"I am absolutely blown away by this decision, and I will not stand for it," he said.

He once weighed 525 pounds and is now 355 pounds, he said.

"I was fighting for a single chance at custody," he said. "I have never been given a chance."

Source: CBC

Addendum: First day of hunger strike.



Obese father goes to Parliament Hill to protest loss of his kids

Mark MacDiarmid
An Ottawa father whose obesity was a factor in a recent ruling to take away custody of his children held a one-day hunger strike on Parliament Hill Friday.

OTTAWA — An Ottawa father whose obesity was a factor in a recent ruling to take away custody of his children held a one-day hunger strike on Parliament Hill Friday.

“I’m absolutely disgusted at the system where they can use lies and discrimination to take away my children” said the 38-year-old man, who must remain unnamed under the Child and Family Services Act.

The man’s four- and six-year-old sons will be put up for adoption after a judge’s ruling Wednesday which noted that the father, who at one point weighed 525 pounds, may have trouble maintaining his weight-loss efforts while taking care of his children, who both have special needs. The ruling also noted that while the man has never been abusive towards the children, he has a history of “angry outbursts” against Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa workers. He formerly ran a marijuana grow-op as well as a lucrative computer business.

In response to the ruling, the Ottawa father set up a beige armchair near the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill Friday, where he sat in an armchair while holding up a sign that read, “I WANT MY SONS.” He believes the ruling was biased, and said that he has not used marijuana since 2009, has been working on leading a healthy lifestyle and is not an aggressive man.

The man claimed to have not eaten anything all day on Friday. He had planned to continue the hunger strike on the Hill until July 2, but when RCMP officers told him he had to leave the property each night by 9 p.m., he reconsidered his method of protest.

“I’ll be finishing today ... It’ll be a hunger strike until nine o’clock, which isn’t really much of a hunger strike,” he admits.

Starting Saturday, the man said he will focus on his improving health to prove he can take care of himself and his boys, while doing everything he can to appeal the ruling.

“Over the next 30 days, instead of hurting myself with a hunger strike I’m going to do my darndest to lose as much weight as I possibly can,” said the man, who currently weighs 380 pounds.

The father said he will release a rebuttal to the judge’s decision soon, at which point he hopes his story “goes global.”

Some international media outlets, including the UK-based Daily Mail, have already picked up the father’s story since the Citizen originally reported on the case.

As the sun set on the Hill Friday evening, the man admitted the day had been an emotional one. Fighting back tears, he said his concern for his sons is what keeps him going.

“As bad as I’m feeling, it can’t compare to how my children feel,” he said through tears. “I am worried about my kids, how they feel, how they are perceived.”

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Addendum: Six months later father Mark MacDiarmid tells a lot more about how his family came to be broken up.



Mark MacDiarmid

‎6 Months ago today Justice James made my 2 sons Crown wards for the purpose of adoption. But that's not all... He also ordered that they be separated from each other with no access to their biological parents.

I will not accept this. I tried to appeal but the Lawyer who was to do the appeal quit a few days before the deadline. As of today I can apply for a "Status Review Application". In fact it would have been filed today but I needed to make a formal complaint to the Child Family Services review board before I brought my case before the courts. The CFSRB can't hear any complaints involving cases before the court.

The following was my letter to the CFSRB

December, 20, 2012


I am writing this letter to make a formal complaint against the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa. I have already placed a complaint with the CAS manager. And nothing was done to resolve my issues.

In September of 2009 I judge ordered that both of the children in CAS custody be reintegrated back into the family home this was biased on a 6 month Family Court Clinic report. All the conditions were met for the reintegration and in the final stages of the reintegration in late October of 2009. It was at this time I was told by the CAS that the reintegration would be halted until I left the home AND I was told that if I didn't leave the home right away that CAS would apply to the court to make my children crown wards. Both of my children were placed in the mothers custody as well has her own son. This was not what the court ordered. As a matter of fact none of the courts orders on September 16 were completed. Such as unannounced home access visits, and we were not even given a chance to go for marriage counseling. (I called the a local resource center for marriage counseling on September 16 the day of the order, the first appointment was to be on November 4, 2009) The mother and I are divorced now.

8 months later the family home burned down. The mother was the only suspect in the fire, she was the only person in the basement where the fire started; she was in the basement for 15 minutes while the fire alarm was going off. I told the CAS what occurred during the fire and the child protection worker ignored the information I gave her and let the mother continue to have custody. I contacted the police and went in for an interview. The officer in charge of the investigation had several other witnesses that he could have interviewed but decided not to after speaking with the child protection worker. The child protection worker had spoken to the investigator on several occasions. The mother was not charged with arson and attempted murder of 6 people. It would look bad for the CAS if the mother was charged for arson after CAS gave her custody. On a side note the mother took 100% of the insurance money.

And just over a month after that my youngest son (aged 2 at the time) was caught running down a major street in Ottawa. After which both of my children were taken into CAS custody. I was told I would never be given a single chance to raise my children.

After the children were taken back into CAS custody, a judge ruled that “the fathers access should increased” but my access was systematically reduced 95% and then completely taken away biased on lies given by the child protection worker to a doctor who admitted on the stand in trial that he was “biased” toward the CAS. And that the doctor took what the CAS told him at “face value”

The worker told the Dr. that the mother and I were in a romantic relationship in the fall of 2010. To be clear in the fall of 2010 I was suing the mother in small claims court for part of the insurance settlement, I started divorce proceedings on November 4. 2009, I was fighting for sole custody of my two sons in family court and trying to have her charged with arson for the fire that burned down almost everything I owned. If that is what CAS describes as a “romantic relationship” I am surprised anyone has their children.

They were made crown wards in June of 2012 biased on lies given to the court. On a side note I am seeking perjury charges against several individuals for the Children's Aid Society of Ottawa.


Mark MacDiarmid

This is only the start. I will no longer stay quiet. lots of news coming... stay tuned.

Source: Facebook, Protecting Canadian Children

Pyrrhic Victory

June 21, 2012 permalink

An Oregon family whose daughter was interrogated without authority took their case all the was to the US supreme court. After an unfavorable ruling there, they have settled their case for $300,000. This is surely less than their legal bills. The case resembles that of Dorian Baxter, who won his case against Durham CAS, but collected less than his legal costs and wound up bankrupt.



Settlement Ends Closely Watched Bend Case

Suit Over Abuse Investigation Went to U.S. Supreme Court

BEND, Ore. -- A 9-year-old Bend court case triggered by a child abuse investigation which went to the U.S. Supreme Court has ended quietly with the state paying a $300,000 out-of-court settlement, the family’s attorney said Thursday.

Oregon Department of Justice spokesman Tony Green confirmed the settlement was reached May 18 after a settlement conference.

The case arose in 2003 when a Bend man, Nimrod Greene, was arrested for suspected fondling of a young boy unrelated to him. The boy’s parents told police they suspected Greene of molesting his own 9-year-old daughter, referred to in court documents as “S.G.”

The police told the Oregon Department of Human Services, which assigned caseworker Bob Camreta to assess the girl’s safety.

Several days later, Camreta and a sheriff’s deputy, James Alford, went to the young girl’s school, took her out of class and interviewed her about the allegations, without a warrant or parental consent.

The child eventually told police she had been abused, and Greene was indicted and stood trial, but the jury failed to reach a verdict and the charges were dismissed.

Greene’s wife, Sarah, sued the two investigators, leading to a 2-1 ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the removal of the child from class and subsequent examination of Greene’s two children at the KIDS Center violated the girls’ and mother’s constitutional rights.

After hearing arguments in early 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit ruling, but did not ruling on the merits because there was no “live controversy,” as the girl was nearly 18, had moved away and thus made the case moot.

“This closes an unfortunate chapter in the family’s life,” said the Greenes’ attorney, Mikel Miller of Bend, who receives a portion of the settlement to pay legal expenses in the lengthy case.

Miller said despite the very difficult years faced by the family, they “do have the satisfaction” that agencies changed their policies and procedures in the wake of the Ninth Circuit ruling.

“They just couldn’t believe this could happen to people,” he said. “The right of a parent to accompany her children during the highly intrusive physical examination at the KIDS Center was violated by the state.”

Source: KTVZ

Irish Child Deaths

June 21, 2012 permalink

In ten years 196 children died in Ireland under the watch of their child protectors, the HSE, Health Service Executive. The Irish Republic, with 36% of Ontario's population, reports only 20% of the deaths of children known to the system. The report's credibility is enhanced by 115 instances of the word father and 303 instances of mother. Most bureaucratic reports on child protection never mention these two words. There are no names of deceased children, just 68 numbered cases.

A news article is enclosed, the full report is Report of the Independent Child Death Review Group (pdf).



Report into child deaths in State care 'a litany of shame'

Frances Fitzgerald
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald at the launch of the report of the Independent Child Death Review Group at the National Library in Dublin. Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish TimesMinister for Children and Youth AffairsFrances Fitzgerald at the launch of the report of the Independent Child Death Review Group at the National Library in Dublin. Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described a highly critical report into the deaths of 196 young people who were in contact with the State's care services as a "litany of shame".

The report of the Independent Child Death Review group focuses on the deaths of young people in contact with the State’s child-protection services between 2000 and 2010.

Of the 196 deaths, some 112 died of non-natural causes such as drug overdoses, suicides, road incidents or unlawful killings.

“Ultimately and tragically the efforts to protect these children failed,” the report said.

Among the key findings are that:

  • The majority of children in the review did not receive an adequate child protection service;
  • Some files were in “complete disarray”, with little or no records as to what happened when to some young people, especially those in aftercare;
  • The HSE closed files on some children, even though they were aware of ongoing drug and alcohol abuse within their families, which placed young people at risk

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald today described the findings of the report as "deeply disturbing" and pledged to implement reforms to strenghten the child-protection system.

Ms Fitzgerald said it was "totally unacceptable" the State could not even tell how many children had died in State care until the report was ordered.

She said the veil of uncertainty and secrecy has finally been lifted and shone a light in a dark, often unexamined and tragic corner of Irish life.

“I do not expect today’s report to bring closure,” she said. “Indeed, I am sure it will, for many, bring pain.”

The report – written by Norah Gibbons, director of advocacy with Barnardos, and Geoffrey Shannon, a solicitor and specialist in child law - calls for reviews into the handling of a number of cases to ensure lessons are learned and that other vulnerable teens receive the kind of support they need.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) today acknowledged failing in child protection structures and work practices.

The organisation's national director of Children and Family Services, Gordon Jeyes, said he strongly supported the report's recommendations on the need for a more effective multi-disciplinary working and reliable partnership among those who provide services to vulnerable young people.

"There are undoubtedly cases of poor practice and systems failures illustrated in the report. There are also examples of staff members who went to great lengths, and beyond their professional duties, to support children," he said.

"The report is very clear that there were deficiencies in a number of services including the core role of Children and Family Services. We must address these deficiencies and learn from past mistakes."

Speaking in the Dáil, the Taoiseach said each case was a story of shame and many focused on complex social issues, including with family circumstances, drugs and mental health.

“This is obviously an independent report, and I commend Geoffrey Shannon and Norah Gibbons for the clarity and the research and the analysis that they have carried out in respect of what is a harrowing tale and a litany of shame in many respects that’s happened here,” he said.

The report also states there was evidence of good practice in what, in many instances, were very complex cases. A considerable range of services was often made available, while individual staff made real efforts to intervene and build relationships with young people.

Too often, however, there was a sporadic and inconsistent approach to dealing with vulnerable children, the report found.

Ms Fitzgerald said the Government was committed to transparency and honesty about the challenges in getting children’s services right.

She pledged to make a series of reforms including:

  • Strengthening the entitlement of children in care to aftercare services once they reach 18;
  • Establishing a new child and family agency that will take responsiblity for child protection away from the HSE;
  • A nationwide consistency of approach in practice and implementation of guidelines over the handling of child welfare and protection cases;
  • Use of standardised definitions, criteria and thresholds for reporting and referrals including prioritisation of cases;
  • Improved resource allocation responsive to changing needs;
  • Clearer management and budgetary accountability;
  • Better workforce planning, training and induction of new staff

Source: Irish Times

Niagara-on-the-Lake Rally

June 21, 2012 permalink

A rally for accountability occurred yesterday at Niagara on the Lake. There is a video report, YouTube and local copy (mp4).

The Niagara on the Lake Rally for Public Accountability was held on June 20th 2012.

The rally was held to bring Oversight & Accountability of the Children's Aid Society and the Ontario Court System. And also to raise awareness of Ontario being the only province in Canada that does not allow oversight of Children's Aid Societies, Hospitals, Long-term Care Homes, Retirement Homes, School Boards, Universities and Police by the Ombudsman.

Source: YouTube

March for Dead Children

June 20, 2012 permalink

In Saskatoon nearly 100 people walked in memory of dead foster children. Two articles are enclosed.



Group remembers children who have died in foster care

Saskatoon march for dead children
Saskatchewan's Children's Advocate says in 2010 alone 34 children died and 43 others were critically injured while in foster care or group homes.

Nearly 100 people walked in Saskatoon Wednesday morning to remember children who have died in Saskatchewan foster care and group homes.

Chris Martel walked alongside his family. Last June, his 22-month-old son Evander Daniels was found drowned in the bathtub of an Aberdeen area home. The foster mother, Eunice Wudrich, is charged with criminal negligence causing death.

Saskatchewan's Children's Advocate says in 2010 alone 34 children died and 43 others were critically injured while in foster care or group homes.

Martin Paul, with the FSIN, says overcrowding in these facilities is a problem that requires more support from the provincial government.

"This is our new residential school. A lot of our aboriginal children are in foster care and we need more programs. They are building a house in Hampton for mothers to get their children back. I think that's a good idea and we need more houses like that."

Source: CTV Saskatoon

Signs on the walk to raise awareness of kids in care. Ashley Wills/News Talk Radio (link to large photo).

Remembering children who died in foster care

Walk to raise awareness of kids in care hits the streets in Saskatoon

A sea of T-shirts and signs honouring children who have died in foster care flooded a Saskatoon park today.

"What's going on right now is the new residential school, so many native kids in foster care," said Chris Martell, father of Evander Lee Daniels, who died in the care of a foster parent nearly two years ago.

Providing food, clothing and shelter simply isn't enough for children in the system, said Chief Wesley Daniels of the Sturgeon Lake First Nation.

"There has to be love. They have to be placed in a home where there's love," he said.

The Ministry of Social Services needs to change the way things are done, Daniels said, like allowing grandparents to be more involved in the process.

"In our culture, grandparents have a huge interest in the development of their children."

In 2011, 75 per cent of children who died in Saskatchewan's foster care system were aboriginal., Follow on Twitter: @ashwillsee

Source: CKOM

Slatter Cleared

June 20, 2012 permalink

Accused Prince Edward County foster parent Ronald Slatter has been cleared of criminal charges. After being cleared, he still has restrictions. Looks like he needs a better lawyer. Following the news article is a comment by Curtis Kingston, who knows about the case.



County man cleared of sex crimes

Criminal sex-offence charges against a Bloomfield man have been withdrawn.

Ronald Slatter was released on a $500 non-deposit peace bond with several conditions after Crown attorney Adam Zegouras announced his office would not proceed with the case.

Because of the nature of the offences and based on the evidence, said Zegouras, the “possibility of a conviction is extremely low,” he said. He did not elaborate.

Justice Geoff Griffin placed several restrictions on Slatter. He was ordered to keep the peace and remain on good behaviour. He is not to be around the complainant nor is he to be in a position of trust with anyone under the age of 16, except with his grandchildren.

Slatter, who was a foster parent, was charged in February with sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation.

The charges came after the CAS launched an investigation following the conviction of Joe and Janet Turner Holm in November. The Bloomfield couple, who were foster parents for the agency, entered guilty pleas to a number of charges and were sentenced to a combined total of seven years in prison.

That case, CAS said, prompted Prince Edward CAS to examine its internal policies and resulted in Slatter being charged.

Griffin said the peace bond was not a finding of guilt or a conviction. Outside the courtroom, Slatter who had fostered about 40 children over eight years, said he has been “dragged” and his reputation ruined by all the news coverage of the charges.

He said reputable foster parents have been “tainted” by the actions of previous foster parents who have been convicted for sexually abusing children placed in their care.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Curtis Kingston What I don't like about this is the simple fact that from inside sources I believed that this man has been innocent all along but they had no problem publishing his name but they did decide to place a publication ban on the horrible excuse for a man that raped three girls in his care and he was obviously guilty the whole time.

I still to this day have a very hard time not releasing the guilty mans name because of the fact that I know his name and one of the victims but it just angers me that they have no problem with releasing the name of an innocent man but they do have a problem releasing the name of the guilty person.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

CAS Windows Smashed

June 20, 2012 permalink

Chatham-Kent Integrated Children's Services
click for larger image

Chatham-Kent police are looking for the culprits who broke three windows on the Chatham-Kent Children’s Integrated Services building. Who would want to do that?



Windows smashed at Children’s Services building

Police Station

Chatham-Kent police are looking for those responsible for breaking three windows at the Chatham-Kent Children’s Integrated Services building on Grand Avenue West in Chatham early Wednesday morning. Damage is estimated at $1,500. Anyone with information is asked to contact Const. Mark VanderGriendt at 519-436-6600 ext. 87155 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Source: Chatham Daily News

A later news item with more detail.

Attack on Children’s Services building

Windows were smashed this morning at the Chatham-Kent Children’s Integrated Services building in Chatham. Police are looking for information regarding the damage.

At about 12:40 a.m. police were called to the Chatham-Kent Children’s Integrated Services building on Grand Avenue West. Police found three windows on the west side of the building had been broken. Damage is estimated at approximately $1500.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Constable Mark VanderGriendt at 519-436-6600 extension #87155.

Anonymous callers may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Source: CK Review

No Soap

June 20, 2012 permalink

Did CAS take your baby in the delivery room because of a positive marijuana test? It could have been from too much soap and shampoo.



Baby Soaps and Shampoos Trigger Positive Marijuana Tests

baby in bath
LWA / Getty Images

Commonly used baby soaps and shampoos, including products from Johnson & Johnson, Aveeno and CVS, can trigger a positive result on newborns’ marijuana screening tests, according to a recent study. A minute amount of the cleansing products in a urine sample — just 0.1 milliliters or less — was found to cause a positive result.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, began studying the issue after an unusually high number of newborns in their nursery began testing positive for marijuana exposure. Newborn screening for marijuana at hospitals, particularly among babies of women who are considered at high risk of drug use, is not uncommon: at U.N.C. Chapel Hill, 10% to 40% of newborns are tested.

Positive results can precipitate an investigation by child welfare authorities. “We really did this to help protect families from being falsely accused,” study co-author Dr. Carl Seashore, a pediatrician in the U.N.C. Chapel Hill newborn nursery, told My Health News Daily.

Soaps that were specifically associated with false-positive marijuana test results include Johnson & Johnson’s Bedtime Bath, CVS Night-Time Baby Bath, Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash and Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo.

Other products, such as Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash, CVS Baby Wash, Baby Magic and even standard hospital gel hand soap, also indicated the presence of marijuana metabolites when tested, but not at sufficient levels to qualify as a positive result according to the hospital lab’s standards.

The problem is almost certainly not limited to these products, however. Researchers also tested ingredients used widely in soaps and shampoos, including polyquaternium-11 and cocamidopropyl betaine, which both elicited positive marijuana test results. So far, there is no explanation as to why the chemicals interfere with the test’s function, but importantly, they aren’t intoxicating; they don’t cause symptoms of marijuana exposure in children. The researchers think minute amounts of the substances were simply washing off the babies’ skin into their urine samples and confounding the screens.

While more sophisticated and expensive testing can easily distinguish between true and false positive results, most hospitals don’t use such tests because of the time and costs involved. And positive tests found at the hospital aren’t typically sent to outside labs for confirmation, which makes false positive results — and possible investigations afterward — all the more troubling.

Indeed, why hospitals test infants for marijuana exposure in the first place is not entirely clear. Twelve U.S. states designate prenatal exposure to any illegal drug as child abuse; however, there is no scientific evidence that connects marijuana-smoking by a parent with abuse.

The question is not whether it’s acceptable for expectant mothers to use illegal drugs. No child-health expert would characterize recreational drug use during pregnancy as a good idea. But it’s not at all clear that the benefits, if any, of newborn marijuana screening — particularly given how selectively the tests are administered — justify the potential harm it can cause to families.

“If the issue is that the mother broke the law and therefore the child should be removed, we might want to consider going after mothers who exceed the speed limit while driving,” says Carl Hart, an associate professor of psychology at Columbia University and author of a leading text on drug effects. “Of course, this is ridiculous.” (Full disclosure: Hart and I are currently collaborating on a book project.)

To remove children from their home at birth because of a positive marijuana test is immediately and inexorably harmful, says Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform. “Even when the test is accurate, there is no evidence that smoking pot endangers children,” he says, adding, “There is overwhelming evidence that needless foster care endangers children.”

Wexler explains that the odds of abuse and neglect are higher in foster care than they would be at home for the babies. “These infants are being taken from homes where there is no evidence of abuse, and placed in a situation where the odds of abuse are at least 1 in 4,” he says. “The odds of this kind of separation doing emotional damage are nearly 100%. Children risk enormous emotional trauma when they are torn from their mothers during a crucial period for infant-parent bonding.”

One study of infants who were exposed to cocaine in the womb found that their physical growth and development increased when they remained with their biological mothers, compared with being removed from the home because of maternal drug use. “For the foster children, being taken from their mothers was more toxic than the cocaine,” Wexler says.

The effects of prenatal drug exposure can vary widely. Maternal cocaine use during pregnancy has been linked with subtle developmental problems in children. But despite the popularized notion of permanently disabled “crack babies,” the research shows that the harms of cocaine use in pregnancy are on par with those associated with smoking cigarettes. Both can increase the risk of preterm birth and stillbirth. Neither is as dangerous as alcohol, which can cause irreversible intellectual disability.

The evidence on marijuana is inconclusive: some studies link marijuana use in pregnancy with reduced fetal growth and behavioral problems, but other research has found no effect. Again, the science shows no damage that approaches the harm linked with alcohol or cigarettes.

Although marijuana exposure has not been associated definitively with child harm, testing for it and placing children in foster care unnecessarily has been. Worse, the risks of custody loss are not applied equally to all women.

Determining whether a mother is considered at high risk for drug use — and warrants newborn testing — is ostensibly based on objective factors like whether she failed to obtain prenatal care or has acknowledged being a drug user. But in reality, characteristics like race often dictate which women are singled out for testing: a 2007 study found that babies born to black mothers were 50% more likely to be tested than white infants, even though rates of drug use and odds of positive results didn’t vary by race.

If you now consider the additional risks of false-positive results due to bath soaps, it’s hard to make the case for continued newborn marijuana testing — especially if the ultimate goal is to help children thrive.

Source: Time Inc

Motherhood = Terrorism

June 20, 2012 permalink

New York mother Laura S Snider has been charged with a felony after announcing her intention to stand her ground against police and social workers.



Ridgeway mom accused of making threats

RIDGEWAY — A Murdock Road woman was arrested Tuesday afternoon after threatening Child Protective Services workers and law enforcement officers, Orleans County Sheriff’s deputies said.

Deputies accompanied a CPS worker about noon to 2969 Murdock Rd., for the purpose of checking the welfare of three children, ages 13, 6 and 4. CPS had requested the deputies’ help following a threat received yesterday by a Catholic Charities social worker, deputies said.

Laura S. Snider, 29, allegedly made statements that she would shoot CPS workers and police if they came to her home, deputies said.

Snider was taken into custody and charged with making a terroristic threat, a Class D felony, second-degree obstructing governmental administration, three counts of endangering the welfare of a child and resisting arrest.

Snider appeared before Town of Ridgeway/Shelby Justice Dawn Keppler and was committed to the Orleans County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail. Her children were placed in the temporary care of a relative.

Source: Daily News Online, Batavia NY

Ombudsman's Report

June 19, 2012 permalink

Ontario's ombudsman André Marin issued his annual report today. It contains several paragraphs mentioning efforts to expand his jurisdiction to the MUSH sector, including children's aid societies.

Push for MUSH
One of several citizen-initiated efforts in support of increased Ombudsman scrutiny of the MUSH sector in 2011-2012: This woman created her own t-shirts and handed out flyers to passersby on Bay Street in October 2011.

Here he acknowledges the grass-roots efforts to get oversight of the MUSH sector.

It is long past time for the government to erase that line and allow this Office to follow administrative decisions of government right through to their delivery to the public. Ontario citizens appear to be growing weary and cynical of the government’s use of buzzwords like “transparency” and “accountability” – as has been evidenced in their growing demand for Ombudsman assistance with MUSH-related issues, and reflected by acute interest from some parliamentarians.

Since 2005, there have been nine private member’s bills calling for expanded Ombudsman oversight over various MUSH areas. To date, none have progressed into law. The last effort was Bill 183, the Ombudsman Statute Law Amendment Act (Designated Public Bodies), 2011, introduced by NDP MPP Rosario Marchese on April 19, 2011. This bill provided for Ombudsman oversight of hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, school boards, children’s aid societies, universities and the Office of the Independent Police Review Director. It was defeated at second reading on May 5, 2011.

Nevertheless, momentum for modernization of the Ombudsman’s mandate continues to build. Thousands of Ontarians have signed petitions supporting Ombudsman oversight in the MUSH sector. Some 65 such petitions have been presented in the Legislature since 2005, 16 of those in 2011-2012 alone. Citizens have also promoted increased scrutiny of MUSH organizations by holding public rallies, distributing flyers and campaigning via social media.

A few pages later, here is what he has to say about children's aid societies. Children’s aid societies as well as government administrators continually argue, much like a broken record, that multiple review mechanisms already exist to ensure adequate accountability of child protection services.



Children’s aid societies

One MUSH area that continues to attract considerable attention is child protection. Ontario remains the only province that delivers child protection services through non- governmental agencies, with no ombudsman oversight.

In 2011-2012, advocates organized protests in dozens of cities, calling for increased accountability over children’s aid societies. The Ombudsman received 491 complaints and inquiries about children’s aid societies across the province. Concerns were raised about many compelling issues, including failure to investigate abuse allegations, inadequate investigations and problematic apprehensions of children. As well, there were two complaints from parents who were pressured to relinquish custody of their severely disabled children to children’s aid societies in order to obtain care for them – an issue the Ombudsman investigated in 2005. An update on this can be found in the Special Ombudsman Response Team section of this report.

Other ombudsmen across Canada have been able to help families with their concerns about child protection authorities. Last year, the Citizen’s Representative of Newfoundland and Labrador helped a father set the record straight after a flawed investigation by child welfare officials, and the Alberta Ombudsman persuaded officials to respond to the concerns of a mother whose children had been apprehended. On April 1, 2012, Alberta’s Child and Youth Advocate also became a legislative officer, with increased resources and new powers to investigate serious injuries and deaths of children and youth in care.

In Ontario, there continues to be no provision for independent investigation of the conduct of children’s aid societies. The only exception is when a government- appointed supervisor takes control. In 2011-2012, while the Huron-Perth Children’s Aid Society was under supervision (up to September 6, 2011), the Ombudsman received 11 complaints, which Ombudsman staff resolved through inquiries and referrals and by dealing with the supervisor.

In response to calls for expansion of the Ombudsman’s mandate into this field, children’s aid societies as well as government administrators continually argue, much like a broken record, that multiple review mechanisms already exist to ensure adequate accountability of child protection services. In making this claim, they typically refer to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth, the Child and Family Services Review Board, the courts, the Office of the Chief Coroner and the Pediatric Death Review Committee. However, none of the existing review bodies enjoys broad general authority to investigate complaints about allegations of maladministration, and the latter two only become involved after a child is dead. The May 2, 2012 sentencing in the 2008 murder of 7-year-old Katelynn Sampson highlighted problems of miscommunication and delay on the part of child welfare officials – issues that are well suited to Ombudsman consideration. While some improvements have been made in the wake of Katelynn’s death, Ombudsman oversight would provide a layer of accountability where none exists, to expose systemic issues before disaster strikes.

The Child and Family Services Review Board gained jurisdiction in 2006 to consider complaints about children’s aid societies. However, the board only deals with procedural issues and can only look at complaints from those directly receiving or seeking services from a children’s aid society. It cannot deal with the type of complaints the Ombudsman typically receives, concerning problematic child apprehension or failure to investigate abuse. Although the board successfully appealed some of the restrictions on its authority in June 2011, its powers remain very limited. In 2011-2012, the Ombudsman received 18 complaints about the board itself, many criticizing the constraints on its jurisdiction.

Children’s aid societies are in a state of flux. The government has committed to work with them to improve outcomes for children and youth, while containing costs through agency amalgamations, back-office consolidations and shared service delivery. As the number of local societies is reduced and a new funding model is introduced, there is increased potential for complaints and even greater reason to extend Ombudsman oversight into this area.

“We need to make sure that, when families are yanked apart, when processes are brought to bear, everything is done in a way that is above reproach. The law has to be seen as fair not only to the child, but to the families and to the prospective people who may adopt them. We need to have an oversight which is not there.

The full report is at 2011-2012 Annual Report, and our local copy, both pdf.

The next day Andrea Horwath questioned premier Dalton McGuinty on expanding the ombudsman's mandate. video link (mp4).

Scorched Earth

June 19, 2012 permalink

Here is an article about English mother Lianne Smith who killed her two children in preference to seeing them taken by social services. This is not the only case of filicide in anticipation of child removal. [1] [2] [3].

After Germany started its invasion of the USSR, Joseph Stalin made a radio broadcast on July 3, 1941:

In case of a forced retreat... all rolling stock must be evacuated, the enemy must not be left a single engine, a single railway car, not a single pound of grain or gallon of fuel. The collective farmers must drive off all their cattle and turn over their grain to the safe keeping of the state authorities for transportation to the rear. All valuable property, including non-ferrous metals, grain and fuel that cannot be withdrawn must be destroyed without fail. In areas occupied by the enemy, guerilla units....must set fire to forests, stores and transports.

This scorched earth policy contributed to the eventual Soviet victory over the forces of Nazi Germany.

Lianne Smith may not have had an understanding of the financial incentives, but she knew that her enemy, social services, wanted the children for something. Her scorched earth approach made the same kind of sense to her that it did for Stalin. The legal and medical system refuses to recognize the purpose of her actions, treating her only as criminally insane.



Mum killed her kids amid fears social services would take them away

Lianne Smith
ON TRIAL ... Lianne Smith is led away from court by armed police.

A MOTHER from Tyneside who suffocated her young son and daughter in a Spanish hotel gave them a “perfect holiday” before killing them, a court heard.

Lianne Smith, 45, from North Shields, admits smothering Rebecca, five, and Daniel, 11 months, with a plastic bag at the Miramar Hotel in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava in May 2010.

She went on trial yesterday at the Provincial Court in Girona, north-east Spain.

Her defence is seeking an acquittal, claiming she was in a state of “psychiatric disturbance”.

If found guilty, she faces a total of 38 years in prison.

The killings took place shortly after her partner, Martin Smith, was arrested in Barcelona by Spanish police acting on a European Arrest Warrant.

The family had been living in Spain since 2007 after fleeing Lichfield, Staffordshire, when a girl accused Mr Smith of sexually abusing her. After he was deported to the UK, his partner became obsessed with the idea British social services were in Spain to take her children away from her.

Smith refused to answer questions from the prosecution, as is her right under Spanish law. But the jury was shown a video of a statement she made to police the day after the children died.

In the video, a tearful Smith told police: “I gave my children a three-day holiday, a perfect holiday. We were very, very happy.

“This was the end of the road, I knew my children would be taken back to England. My daughter didn’t want to go.

“I know it’s not right to take another life, but I felt I was in a corner, and my intention was for me and my children to go. It was not just the children, it was me as well.”

The court heard that after killing the children, Smith tried to take her own life by cutting herself with razors, covering her head with a plastic bag, hanging herself with telephone cable and drowning in a bath. Answering questions from her lawyer, Jenifer Lahoz Abos, she explained she had gone to Lloret after seeing two people outside her house.

“I knew and I could feel they were social services and had come to take the children, and I love my children.”

Smith said she had killed the children while they slept and they offered no resistance.

She said she felt as if “someone else” had done the killing.

Before trying to take her own life, she left four notes and an envelope containing money for the hotel.

In one she said “lies” had been told about her partner, who she described as an “innocent man”.

In December 2010, he was found guilty at Manchester Crown Court of 11 specimen charges of rape, attempted rape, indecency with a child and indecent assault.

The jury in that case heard he had used hypnosis, bullying and violence to groom and sexually abuse the girl between May 1995 and May 2004.

Last January, he was found hanged in his cell at Strangeways Prison in Manchester.

* The trial continues.

Source: Shields Gazette (Tynesdale England)

Punishment for Failure to Intervene

June 19, 2012 permalink

British social worker Philip James Bowater has been struck off (lost his license to practice) for failing to respond promptly to a complaint about child abuse. The child was admitted to hospital for injuries incurred during the delay. This is an instance of the pattern in discipline of social workers. Workers are bashed for failure to take a child, never for unnecessarily removing a child.



Social worker struck off over delay in abuse investigation

Former Wolverhampton Council employee Philip James Bowater was told of allegations that the child had been physically injured, but waited almost four hours to carry out a home visit.

Social work conduct hearing

A social worker who failed to properly investigate reports that a three-year-old child on his caseload had been physically injured has been struck off.

On 22 October 2009, at about 1pm, a telephone call was made to the duty assessment social worker at Wolverhampton Council alleging that injuries had been inflicted to Child B, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The anonymous referrer raised concerns about bruising on the child’s body, allegedly caused by the mother’s boyfriend.

The duty social worker passed the information to Philip James Bowater, a senior practitioner in the council’s North East Locality Team, who was the child’s allocated social worker. He said he would carry out a visit.

However, he did not take immediate action, but instead completed some paperwork he was working on – delaying the visit to Child B’s home address until about 4:45pm, almost four hours after the allegation of physical abuse was received.

He also failed to inform a manager about the case, even though this was part of Wolverhampton’s child protection policy, the General Social Care Council’s (GSCC) conduct committee heard.

Having been unable to see Child B, Bowater went home, where he was distracted by personal matters believed to have involved his own son. He did not notify the out of hours team about the case and his failure to make contact with Child B.

Child B was later taken to hospital with bruising to each side of his face, his right ear, right arm and left leg. Those injuries led to a police investigation and Child B’s mother and partner were arrested on suspicion of child cruelty.

“It is apparent that the registrant did not follow basic child protection procedures in relation to Child B, a most vulnerable three-year-old child,” said the conduct committee, adding: “Child B was clearly left at risk”

Bowater did not attend the GSCC’s hearing, but the conduct committee heard that, in a disciplinary hearing, Bowater said he had wanted to speak with his manager before carrying out the visit, but she was not available.

He also admitted in a supervision session that he should have taken the case more seriously, but said he had seen the children earlier in the week and believed the call about the alleged assault may have been malicious.

The GSCC heard that Bowater’s manager at the time had previously identified significant performance issues in relation to his caseload.

Yet, even after his caseload was reduced and additional supervision and training put in place, he repeatedly failed to follow management instructions to carry out visits and assessments, make appropriate referrals, complete agency checks and update records.

He was eventually dismissed on capability grounds and for gross misconduct in relation to Child B. In total, the GSCC's conduct committee found 36 allegations against Bowater proved.

The committee accepted that the registrant had been under a certain amount of pressure both in his personal and professional life, but concluded his failings were “serious, repeated and widespread” and had jeopardised the safety of children, particularly Child B.

Although Bowater had worked for the council for 30 years and had no previous referrals to the GSCC, the conduct committee decided to remove him from the register.

Read the full notice of decision

Source: Community Care (website for social workers)

Serving and Protecting

June 18, 2012 permalink

A picture of a Niagara Regional Police officer sleeping on the job was posted on Facebook, and has made it into the press.

Silver lining: Niagara children prefer this to seeing a cop escorting a social worker during an apprehension.



Police officer photographed snoozing in cruiser

Niagara Regional Police officer sleeping on the job

A photo of an unidentified Niagara Regional Police officer, apparently sleeping her in cruiser, has become a local internet sensation.

The undated photo, taken at an unidentified location, shows a blonde police officer sitting in her unlocked cruiser, hands folded across her lap, mouth open, evidently asleep. A person in a grey sweater, taking a picture of the officer can be seen in the reflection of the cruiser’s driver’s side window. The camera hides the person’s face.

The Niagara Regional Police had little to say about the photo, which has made the rounds on Facebook and Twitter, but did say the officer in question has been identified

“From a performance and officer safety perspective, NRP will be looking into the circumstances in which the photo was taken,” said NRP spokesman Derek Watson in an email to The Standard.

The source of the photo is as yet unknown. The photo appears to have been posted by a Facebook user named Stephanie Gogo on a page called “People Unite Against Police Brutality” on June 12. Gogo could not be reached for comment.

This weekend another Facebook user Pat Hudak who goes by the handle “Pat Niagara,” a self identified member of a protest group called Canada Court Watch, circulated the photo to the Facebook pages of Niagara newspapers, including the St. Catharines Standard.

Hudak said he posted the photo as part of court watch’s mandate to protest what he called “the mush sector” of police, the courts and other public agencies. However, he said he does not want the officer to loose her job.

“We absolutely do not want to see this lady fired. Absolutely not,” said Hudak. “I think she needs to be taken aside and given a strict talking to. Being asleep with her door unlocked is dangerous to her and the public. But she shouldn’t be fired.”

Source: Niagara Falls Review

Pat Niagara collected two tv programs and a radio broadcast on this incident. CHCH news, Square Off (CHCH TV), Knockout (radio) all mp4.

CFS Ward Becomes Prostitute

June 18, 2012 permalink

How do foster girls get a better life? They turn to prostitution. A woman in Carman Manitoba has been arrested for drawing a ward of Child and Family Services into prostitution, and living off of the proceeds. There are no names in the story, so it will be impossible to follow up.



Woman accused of pimping CFS kid

CARMAN — A Carman woman has been charged with pimping out a minor in a Manitoba Housing residence.

The 36-year-old woman was arrested June 14.

She has been charged with getting a child to leave the custody of Child and Family Services for the purposes of prostitution. She’s also charged with living off the avails of a person under 18 years.

The woman is facing several bail breaches, charged with failure to comply with no-contact orders, a curfew and a booze ban. She’s also accused of possessing unmarked tobacco.

She was wanted by police for drug trafficking and assault charges dating back to 2009.

According to a neighbour, RCMP were at the woman's residence for two days.

The Town of Carman office said the house is owned by Manitoba Housing.

Carman area RCMP Staff Sgt. Jo-Anne Prejet said the matter is still under investigation.

Carman is about 90 km southwest of Winnipeg.

Source: Winnipeg Sun

Small Work, Big Bill

June 18, 2012 permalink

Canada Court Watch wants to hear from people who have knowledge of of billing practices within the Office of the Children's Lawyer.



Vernon Beck Canada Court Watch is looking for anyone who has had experience in obtaining the billing of a children's lawyer to the Ontario Government for services obtained as a Children's Lawyer working for Ontario's Office of the Children's Lawyer.

We have a case we are investigating in which a child's court appointed children's lawyer spent only 10 minutes with the child client in 2 years and refused to respond to the teen's request for information. We suspect that there may be fraudulent billing by the lawyer involved. Anyone who has any information can contact Canada Court Watch. We would also ask that anyone who has had a similar experience with poor performance by a children's lawyer anywhere in Canada to enter the name of the lawyer into the Canadian Registry for Public Accountability website at so that the Canadian public can be kept informed of these individuals.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Foster Orgy

June 18, 2012 permalink

Prince Edward CAS logo

Prince Edward CAS, which has already had three foster homes accused of sexual misconduct with the children, will soon have a fourth.

The website of The Children's Aid Society of the County of Prince Edward gives no clue about the number of children in their care. A pro-rata allocation of Ontario's foster children to Prince Edward County's 25,258 residents would give them 33. At four kids per home, half of Prince Edward's foster kids could have been in the care of sexual abusers. These abuses are not trifles. The one victim in touch with fixcas reports involuntary sexual intercourse.



More foster parent charges coming: official

PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY - Scrutiny of a child welfare agency could get worse as yet another foster parent is about to face sex crime charges in Prince Edward County.

A confidential source informed The Intelligencer that charges of a “sexual nature” will be laid against another County foster parent in the coming days.

The source expects the accused to be held and charged shortly but could not provide any details about the extent of the charges or how they came about. More information will be provided once the charges are laid.

The source said the charges contradict recent public utterances made by Bill Sweet, the County Children’s Aid Society executive director, who, while remaining mum about his knowledge of any ongoing investigations, said "I do not believe that there are any other (active) cases (investigations)" being managed by the society.

News of the impending charges comes at the time when the agency has been grappling to fend off concerns about the society's foster care program, which was the subject of a December government probe that resulted in the drafting of numerous recommendations on how to boost vigilance and transparency.

Officials from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services drafted a number of reforms, including the need for improved documentation, at the Picton-based child welfare entity.

The current allegations also arrive in the wake of convictions being levied against three child predators in recent months, who were found guilty of continuously sexually abusing children entrusted into their care by the County CAS. Some of the victims were as young as nine and 10 when the abuse started.

Information gleaned from sources does indicate a recent ministry-led probe of the Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society is a contributing factor behind much of the charges that have been meted out against former foster parents so far this year.

The latest accused will be the second foster parent to be charged this year alone.

The internal shake-up also led to sexual assault charges being levied against Ronald Slatter, 63, of Bloomfield, another former foster parent who is expected to appear in court June 20.

A 71-year-old Bloomfield foster father, who can't be named because of a court order to protect the victims, is facing a harsh prison term after a jury found him guilty of sexually assaulting two girls placed in his care. He will be sentenced on July 6.

Back in November, a Bloomfield couple was sentenced to seven years combined for what a superior court judge described as turning their foster home into a "sexual cult."

“I hope the public demands there be an inquiry into what took place at the home," Justice Geoff Griffin said during the sentencing of Joe, 48, and Janet Holm, 45.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Too Fat

June 17, 2012 permalink

To our list of marginalized parents, nudists, vegetarians, smokers and racists, add the obese. Ottawa CAS is trying to remove the children from a father on account of his obesity.

The doctor assessing the father on behalf of CAS slams him for losing only 145 pounds. A memorable quote from the doctor is: "(The father's) health issues are magnified by his anti-authoritarian traits and refusal to follow recommended treatments". Sounds like he doesn't like being bossed around by social workers. Quite a normal dad.

Note that the extreme obesity of Gary Putman, former executive director of Dufferin CAS, did not prevent him from serving as a child protector.



Judge to rule on whether obesity is factor in man's fitness for fatherhood

fat father
In a family court case to be ruled on soon, a judge will, in part, decide whether a 38-year-old Ottawa man is too fat to be a dad.

OTTAWA — In a family court case to be ruled on soon, a judge will, in part, decide whether a 38-year-old Ottawa man is too fat to be a dad.

The Royal Ottawa Hospital's family court clinic, which does court-ordered assessments on parents, is now using obesity as a factor when deciding if parents are fit to raise children.

In court filings by child-welfare authorities in the case of an obese Ottawa father who is fighting for custody of his two boys, a doctor at the family court clinic wrote:

"Finally, (father) has struggled with obesity for years, which impacts significantly on most aspects of his life including (his) functioning as a parent. He was short of breath or winded in simply walking short distances about the clinic and he lacks both the mobility and stamina required to keep up with young and active children.

"Once again, (the father's) strong personal beliefs on issues, including weight loss, make it difficult for him to accept the opinions of specialists on such matters," the doctor wrote in the assessment report.

He continued: "(The father) needs to address his own medical and psychological affairs. These would include his cannabis addiction and his level of physical fitness."

The Child and Family Services Act prohibits the Ottawa Citizen from identifying the father or his children, both with special needs and now in foster homes.

At his heaviest, the man fighting for custody of his two boys, ages 5 and 6, weighed 525 pounds.

He refused gastric bypass surgery at the Ottawa Hospital and decided instead to lose the weight through exercise — he used to be a power lifter — and proper diet. He trained seven days a week and swam lots of laps in a pool.

According to court filings, a doctor had recommended the sometimes deadly "obesity surgery," but the man declined and instead "had his own approach to weight loss."

"Quite frankly," a doctor wrote, "I do not believe he followed through with even one of our dietary recommendations."

In fact, the father dropped to 340 pounds on his own terms and now weighs 380.

He's proud of his weight loss and so is his doctor.

Still, the family court doctor contracted to assess the man's case deflated his achievement, writing:

"Regardless of how much weight (the father) may have lost to date, he will continue to be at risk related to his obesity for some considerable time. This will include not only his risk for major life threatening events, but also a lack of mobility and proneness to injury as was exemplified by (the father's) hobbling around on crutches when last seen individually. (The father's) health issues are magnified by his anti-authoritarian traits and refusal to follow recommended treatments. This also raises questions to his ability to make proper decisions in regards to his sons' medical, educational or psychological needs."

The father, who hasn't seen his boys in a year, says, "I was never too fat to be a dad."

He acknowledged his mistakes, has stopped using drugs, taken anger management courses (he and his ex-wife had a history of fights), and has lost weight.

"To have your children taken away from you because you are too fat is more than mildly insulting. But then to have busted my ass to lose the weight and still not be given a single chance is something only a few would understand," he said on Saturday.

He said he felt ashamed and likened it to bullying and discrimination.

"Any human who has the capacity, intellect and desire can be a wonderful parent, no matter if they are a dwarf or a parent in a wheelchair," he said. "Parenting comes from the heart and soul."

His boys were seized from his ex-wife's house after she was sent to hospital for treatment of a suspected overdose last year.

He is now fighting in court to get his sons back for good.

No matter that he has given up marijuana and dropped weight, his battle is uphill because, as court records show, even the "most highly-skilled parents might not be able to provide the attention and supervision required for these boys."

The boys are aggressive, quite active and have been known to jump on furniture and ignore orders so much so that they run away.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Thought Police take Children

June 17, 2012 permalink

John Hemming is supporting an English couple threatened with child removal because the mother is a former member of the racist English Defence League. Mr Hemming's comments follow a news article.




Toni McLeod and Martyn McLeod
Toni McLeod with her soldier husband Martyn

SOCIAL workers want to seize a baby as soon as it is born because they are concerned about the mother’s violent links to the English Defence League.

Durham County Council has told Toni McLeod she would pose a “risk of ­significant harm” to the baby. Social workers fear the child would become radicalised with EDL views and want it put up for adoption immediately.

Mrs McLeod, who is 35 weeks pregnant, is a former leading member of the EDL, in which she was notorious as “English Angel”. The 25-year-old has a string of convictions for violence, including butting and biting a police officer after an EDL march in 2010 and she has been banned from owning dogs after setting a pit bull on a former partner.

However, her cause has been taken up by Lib Dem MP John Hemming who, despite his loathing for the EDL, raised it in the Commons. He contrasts her treatment with that of the extremist Islamic cleric Abu Qatada, who was allowed to remain with his ­children when he was briefly remanded on bail earlier this year as the Government tries to deport him.

He said: “It raises a curious question as to why Abu Qatada is allowed to radicalise his children but the state won’t take the chance of allowing Toni McLeod to look after her baby in case she says something social workers won’t like.

“I am very strongly opposed to the EDL, which I believe to be a racist organisation, but I do not think we should remove all of the children of the people who go on their demonstrations, however misguided they may be.”

Mrs McLeod has posted racist abuse on social networking sites but denies being racist. She claims she is no longer active with the EDL and has never been charged with violence against children.

Social workers have told her husband Martyn he would be unable to care for his child because he is a full-time soldier just back from Afghanistan.

Mr Hemming, who chairs the Justice For Families campaign group, said yesterday: “This case is one where the ‘thought police’ have decided to remove her baby at birth because of what she might say to the baby. I wonder what the baby’s father is thinking when he fights for a country which won’t allow him to have a child because of what the child’s mother might say.

“Toni now accepts she was wrong to have gone on EDL demonstrations but freedom of speech means nothing if people are not allowed to say things that are thought to be wrong.”

Mrs McLeod wants to move to ­Ireland for the birth to avoid England’s social services. Rifleman McLeod, 31, plans to request a transfer to Northern Ireland so he can be with his child.

Durham County Council told Mrs McLeod on Friday her unborn baby was being placed on its child protection register. Last month, a judge ruled that her three other children, who have different fathers, should be permanently removed from her care.

The Sunday Express is unable to give details of the judge’s explanation for legal reasons.

Documents seen by the Sunday Express reveal social workers are worried about Mrs McLeod’s previous alcohol and drug misuse, her “aggressive behaviour” and her alleged “mental health issues” .

They concede she is no longer involved with the EDL but believe she is now involved with a splinter group, the North West Infidels. The social worker’s report states: “Toni clearly needs to break away from the inappropriate friendships she has through either the EDL or break-off group in order that she can model and display appropriate positive relationships to the baby as he/she grows and develops.

“Toni has been a prominent member of the EDL. They claim they are a peaceful group, however, they have strong associations with violence and racism.”

Mr McLeod said: “Toni would never harm a child.”

The council said it was unable to comment.

Source: Daily Express

The State is not your Friend (thought police)

This story in the Sunday Express relates to the proposals by a local authority to remove a baby at birth.

Removing a baby at birth is a really draconian thing to do. It has to be based upon a real and urgent threat to the baby. Removing the baby is often harmful to the baby. Hence it has to be a very serious threat.

In the linked case the local authorities concerns are as I said in the House of Commons on Wednesday:

Hansard has the full debate. My relevant section is:

Ms Toni McLeod, who lives with her family in Durham, is thinking of going to Ireland because she is pregnant. It is a difficult situation. She was a supporter of the English Defence League. I hate the EDL. Three of my children are mixed-race, and I protest against the EDL. Toni McLeod says that she is not racially prejudiced, but that children were taken from her partly because of her membership of the EDL. It was “felt that conversations and opinions may be expressed in the children’s presence.” That is a “thought police” approach to care. The system intervened because of what Toni McLeod might say in front of her children. She says that she has many friends who are Muslims and Sikhs, and that she disowns the EDL nowadays, but whether that is true or not, we should ask whether it is appropriate for the state to remove a child because children may be radicalised by a parent. Is that an appropriate use of the phrase “risk of significant harm”? That brings us back to the statutory guidance, which makes no effort whatsoever to give any indication of what is meant by the phrase.

So her husband is fighting for a country which won't allow his wife to keep her baby (and would probably give it to another family) because of what she might say to the child.

I oppose the EDL myself. Mrs McLeod says she now does not support the EDL. My view is that the EDL are generally out for a fight rather than expressing a political position. However, I do not think association with the EDL is good cause to remove a new born child from a mother. She has no real choice but to emigrate because the care system is so orientated towards adoption.

Source: John Hemming blog


June 16, 2012 permalink

Sears has a line of stuffed animals and beverage containers.

I hate social workers stuffed elephant

Source: Sears

I hate social workers stuffed tiger

Source: Sears

I hate social workers coolie

Source: Sears

I hate social workers mug

Source: Sears

Callous Baby Snatching

June 15, 2012 permalink

The state of Michigan has taken the sixth child of Casey Caswell. In 2005 one of her children, Ricky Holland, was murdered by his adoptive parents. This is not the first time Michigan has tried to take children after killing a sibling. They took children from Matt and Jennifer Lethbridge after the oldest child, Ashleigh, died in an adoptive home, and continued taking children after a second sibling, Isaac, died in a foster home.



Ricky Holland's Mother Fighting For Custody of Infant Son

Casey Caswell argues she's the best possible mother for the 3-month-old

LANSING -- Casey Caswell, the biological mother of Ricky Holland, told News 10 in 2006 that her son should have been in her custody.

"It's just wrong for them to put my kids in a home to where one of them ends up dead," she said at the time.

Ricky, just 7 years old, was murdered in 2005 by his adoptive parents. Caswell's rights had been terminated by the state.

Now, her lawyer, William Campbell, says she is fighting for parental rights over her 3-month-old son.

"Casey and her husband Matt at this point in time are awaiting adjudication on a petition to terminate their parental rights," Campbell told News 10 on Thursday.

Campbell says Caswell, who has lost custody of five children in the last several years, is fighting the issue in court. He admits she and her husband are homeless, but argues that -- with some help from the Department of Human Services -- they could provide for the child.

"They are doting parents to this baby, and they want to do the right thing," Campbell said.

Caswell, 19 years old at the time, turned Ricky into the state when he was 3 years old. A judge subsequently revoked her rights to him.

He went missing in July of 2005, touching off a national media storm and massive community search effort for the boy.

We later learned Ricky was killed by his adoptive parents, Tim and Lisa Holland. Mr. Holland is serving a 30-60-year prison term. Mrs. Holland is behind bars for life.

Campbell argues Caswell had no say over where Ricky was placed, and says she now has no trust in the state's foster care system.

DHS officials wouldn't talk specifically about Caswell's case, but argue a woman who's had her parental rights revoked has to prove she's fit to raise a new child.

"We cannot ignore severe situations that led to a prior termination when we look at the new instance," said Steve Yager, director of Children's Services at DHS.

He also points out the agency has made several changes to the system since Ricky's case, noting they've lowered caseloads for each CPS worker and established more comprehensive reviews of foster homes.

This July, they'll begin conducting random visits of foster homes, including random visits of children in those homes to make sure they're getting the services they need.

Caswell appears before a judge at the end of July.

Source: WILX

Foster Hagiography

June 14, 2012 permalink

Today's story from the Belleville Intelligencer tells of a successful foster family. Notice how, clearly with the consent of CAS, the reporter uses real names. The foster parents are Joanne and Randy Coker, their ward is Mikal (no surname). Foster children in other homes are Cody Gourd, Quentin DeGenova, Michael Parsons, Patricia Dunne and Justice Chamberlain. Authors of critical articles about CAS would be facing mega-fines and jail time for naming that many foster parents and children.



Foster parents make a difference

Mikal has found her parents and she intends to make them proud.

The eloquent 15-year-old sported a smile has she told a room of child welfare officials how her stay with the Coker family has transformed her life, so much that she went from being a shy introvert to an outgoing girl and talented singer, months away from a trip to Europe with a local youth chorale.

The endearing youngsters brought her foster father, Randy Coker, to tears when she told him and his wife, Joanne, that “I've found my family and I'm happy with that.”

“I love my parents and think of them as my own parents,” she said.

Mikal's feel-good story echoed the sentiments of several of her peers who received various awards, Thursday evening, at the first annual general meeting for the newly amalgamated Highland Shores Children's Aid Society.

The bubbly Grade 8 student praised her foster parents for providing her with the supports she needs to excel. While admitting that there will be struggles when a foster child moves into a new home, Mikal says, those are all things that can be smoothed out over time, if both parties make an effort to improve

“It can always get better,” she said.

Cody Gourd can attest to that. He will be heading off to Humber College to commence his studies in community and justice this fall.

Gourd was the recipient of the $1,000 Clarke Award, which he says will be helpful for the purchase of books and school supplies. He credits the CAS for fostering his efforts to pursue a higher education in his bid to become a correctional officer.

“This will help me to start doing what I want to do for my future career,” he said.

Quentin DeGenova, 14, hasn't started planning for college yet, but he's showing signs of being on the right path to getting there.

He was applauded for going from a sub-par student to one receiving the Dr. Clare Brant Award for his improved academic performance at St. Theresa's Catholic Secondary School. The Grade 10 student was quick to thank all the “people who have inspired me to do well.”

“I've accomplished something I'm proud of,” he said.

The other award recipients were: William Murray, who received the Evelyn Payton Memorial Achievement Ward. The Wilma McKnight Scholarship was awarded to Michael Parsons, Patricia Dunne and Justice Chamberlain.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

This article provoked a lively discussion. Aside from persons getting paid, there is little support for CAS.



Rupert Smith

There was a well worded editorial about the CAS and having the Ombudsman to have review of them today by this newspaper, these agencies should have oversight especially in light of the numerous cases of sex offenders in the foster care system across the Province and across Canada.

Good foster homes are not the norm, they are the exception. The rash of cases of pedophile predators has certainly attested to the problems with the care system.

The Ombudsman should have the ability to review and investigate these agencies to the fullest extent of his power, if they are all so wonderful why are all the CAS agencies against this type of oversight? This article is not a reflection of the experiences of most who are fostered by any means, that being said it is good that these teens were not abused as so many are, they found rare people in this as the system is by far unsafe and has a huge amount of abuse in it without question.

Rare cases, and by far not the norm in any way! How about Marin having a real look at what is going on instead of the continual propaganda of the CAS groups which in no way can be trusted considering the way they operate as rogue clubs that are not responsible.

Curtis Kingston

You are certainly right about the Ombudsman oversight and that is something that myself and thousands of other Canadians are asking for but the Liberals don't seam to care!

As people may have noticed, Myself and other advocates have been organizing public rallies in the area to raise awareness on this issue and also to get signatures on a petition for Ombudsman oversight and the last rally that we had in Belleville on May 4th, we received over 500 signatures on that petition but yet again the Intelligencer did not do a fair job of reporting on it and actually attempted to make it look like I myself was the only one there but the EMC felt the need to make it a front page story and unlike the Intelligencer, the EMC did a good, fair job of reporting on the rally and the reasons why we were there.

I was actually at Queens Park with fellow advocates on Tuesday when the latest Ombudsman Bill was introduced and I will say that it is unfortunately obvious that it is going to be an uphill battle with the Liberals. To me, anyone that is against oversight has something to hide and that includes the Private Corporate Children's Aid Societies.

Also as for the article that you were talking about Rupert, it was not from the Intelligencer. That article was from the County Weekly News. I would never expect a corrupt and bias paper such as the Intelligencer to partake in such fair and unbiased reporting. Here is the link to the article I think you where talking about:

Rupert Smith

Yes it was the same editorial that I referenced. Thousands have wanted something done about CAS for decades, the problem has always been the govenment shielding them, the Liberals are corrupt which is so clear from ORNGE, certainly a mess.


I have no issue with having an Ombudsman review all of the CAS Agencies to ensure the children are receiving the best of care. What i have an issue with is the statement that children receiving loving care is an exception and not the norm. I would like to know how you establish this as fact? There are far fewer stories printed of all the good that foster parents provide as that is not good reading material and does not sell papers or make headlines for T.V.

This is very tough emotional draining undertaking for foster families. But most do it for the children and to ensure they have a chance at as a normal child hood as possible and ultimately return to their own families. My wife and i started to foster as our children were both in their teens and we felt we could provide a safe home to those who needed help. We have since adopted ( our first foster child who came to us at 3 weeks old and is now 2) we have had several children come into our care and currently have 2. The 2 that have returned home continue to stay in touch with us and come for dinner occasionally, but more importantly have a much better home life with their parents due to not only having been in care with us, but the work the society did with their parents. This is the part most miss, as with out the society working with the parents , most of which do not have some of the basic skills needed to raise children. So please when making blanket statements realize the impact that they may have on the negative view that you cast on foster parents as a whole. NO CHILD should every have to go through any pain or suffering, but until we as society better help those that need it we will have a need for the CAS and Foster parents, and unless you are actually trying to help in some way by being involved in a positive way then all you are doing is bringing down people that are trying to make a positive difference in some ones life.


You have to understand Curtis Kingston has a self-avowed goal to dismantle the children's aid system in the province as he sees them as for-profit corporations and worse. His every comment, regardless of the event or mention of the CAS in our pages, is to further his beliefs and that of some of his followers that the entire child welfare system in Ontario actually harms children. From that understanding, you will come to see that Mr. Kingston will decry any opinion or reporting on activities by this or any other CAS as skewed or "biased" as supportive of agencies he sees as corrupt and even harmful to children wherever and whenever they bring a child into care.

Rupert Smith

Not affiliated with this person, his comments suggest the system is rife with problems, with that I agree - one hopes an Ombudsman oversight mechanism will be able to fix some of the eggregious problems that are evident with the CAS system.

Curtis Kingston

Chris, please don't get me wrong as I do absolutely feel that there is definitely a need for child protection in Ontario.

And I do in fact believe that there are good CAS workers and foster parents and they do in fact help allot of children that need help.

All I am asking for is proper independent oversight and accountability that they do not have at this time.

What myself and thousands of other informed Canadians want is for the CAS to work in the best interest of children and families and right now there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support the fact that they are not working in the best interest of children at this point and that needs to change.

The problem is that unlike you Chris, I have not only done my research but I advocate for and help good children and families first hand on a regular basis and I see so many instances where these CAS workers commit criminal offenses just to keep children in their care. This is not because the children need protection but rather to keep their funding going.

I am currently dealing with a case where the CAS apprehended a child just solely because of the fact that the parents where homeschooling the child! This is proven in the court documents. Please explain how that is in the best interest of the child? Or in the case of the foster parent in Picton where the CAS purposely ignored multiple complaints from three girls that were being raped in there care for years because they did not want to look bad. How is this in the best interest of the child?

I have hundreds of stories just like these and this is not a myth Chris this is proven fact.

How come it has been proven by our own government that over 100 innocent children die every year in the "Care" of the CAS and over the past five years, over 500 innocent children have died in their "care" and not one worker, or CAS employee has ever been held accountable for any of these deaths? How is that in the best interest of the child?

Also I don't know why, but for some reason your reporter at the Intelligencer did in fact try to skew what was really going on in the courtroom in Picton recently and as a result caused further harm to the victims. I know this for a fact and so do you.

Here is the link to a victims letter to Chris for those who have not seen it yet:

Chris, I don't know why you feel that I am just some crazy person but I would love to sit down with you and show you the overwhelming amount of evidence to back my claims if in fact you are up for learning the truth. You have my number so please give me a call and I would gladly sit down with you and show you the proof. I may even bring a few victims with me if you would like.

Please be a real editor Chris and learn about and speak the truth just like other media organizations in the area. I will help you learn about the reality of these private corporations if only you would let me attempt to prove it to you.

Rupert Smith

The system at large is a disaster, I would have to agree with him on that. I don't see a conspiracy with the newspaper though as they reported these cases in the first place, far too often they are hidden as they threaten to sue media constantly. As to the severity of this another reason for a seasoned investigator to conduct a thorough probe, the Ombudsman would be immensely qualified for such a measure.

The statistics of the system are not flattering to say the least which has been reported by numerous sources for years, instead of blaming reporters the blame should befall politicians who have left this for decades, the Liberals in particular in Ontario are stubbornly bullish about barring any review, that should be alarming to all including media.

There is certainly corruption in the system. The Ontario audit unearthed a wealth of problems with these agencies a few years ago, quite startling including not doing proper checks, an Ombudsman review should have transpired then if anything. Additionally, this agency is one of many, severe problems are evident with the system at large, and so yes he is right in that this is a systemic problem across several fronts, there should be no reason why it should be left to fester, one hopes something will be done as these cases of abuse are not rare what so ever, and not once do you ever hear of them doing anything to prevent this which is another red flag.

Deeply troubling the entire thing really, and shameful that these children were abused for so many years in the reports about the predators in the foster care system.

Rupert Smith

It is you that has not done any research and I am stating the truth to protect children as my interest is not in the ego of those who foster or any insecurities they have either.

It is well known that foster care is very abusive and that any good homes are exceptionally rare, the outcome of the system is a disaster, the rates of homelessness, the rates of severe mental illness often linked to being moved as well as the abuse one endures in so called care.

It is not your job to assess the parents dealing with CAS either, it is always the same - the parents are bad and the foster strangers good, it is a faulty, archaic and totally skewed system that has tremendous bias towards natural parents. I know the truth and reality of this, the lies that the parents are the problem are just that, it is the foster parents that are far more abusive overall.

And with oversight be sure not as many children will be in care either as these agencies take kids for funding simply as they can.

We don't need any more propaganda or politically correct nonsense and rhetoric, abuse in care is a huge concern here and it must be addressed, if insecure foster carers cannot handle the truth they ought not to be doing this, as those who see this also speak out - the rare see the problems.


What research?? DO you have first hand accounts as i do. I know it must have been the try to be a positive influence in some ones life that really got to you. My guess is you would not know how. That is why you come and spout off like you are an expert. All i have seen you say is CAS and Foster parents are bad but you have no suggestions on how to make anything better but to say they need over sight so go ahead throw more stones and be bitter as that seems to work for you. Again unless you have a positive change to suggest you are part of the problem not part of the solution.

Rupert Smith

Yes I do, and my suggestion if you read it is very clear that these agencies need oversight, your bullying and freaking out is juvenile. The system is a mess no matter the lies, myths and cover-ups that you people try to pull constantly, and anyone honest knows it too so nice try. Once again this is about children you know, not the ever so fragile and insecure feelings of paid CAS agents that answer to no one. And it should be more than curious to the public as to why the CAS agencies fight any level of oversight as well, that these agencies refuse to cooperate, I think that is very telling in this.

In every story reported the comments from those who foster and the system are always a defensive reaction without a care in the world to how to prevent this or the trauma that these kids have endured, it is instead always about the propaganda crockery that the system is just fine the way it is, by far it is not. The system cares for the system not the kids, more than obvious and certainly the crux of the tremendous problem that this system is plagued with.

Not once has the agency told the public how they will prevent this either, it is a sea of hodge podge rhetoric, internal Ministry reviews and a parade of spin doctoring as per usual, quite pitiful frankly.


sick of hearing how foster parents do it because they are paid,they are not paid they are rembursed for expences,like food clothing ect,how many people could afford to help these kids without help doing so.yes there are bad foster parents that get through the cracks same as anywhere else in life.police checks are done every year on fosterparents but lets face it everyone knows pedefiles are very clever at coersing or scaring kids into not talking and a police check doesnt work iff they have never been charged with it. and not all the parents that kids are taken from are good and loving parents,some beat there kids some neglect giving them the nessesities of life, parents are worked with to help them get thier kids back and a lot do .

so unless you are willing to help these kids in your home at your expense dont berate the people that do help them.

the good foster parents do it because they love kids and want to give them a normal life so they can grow up to give thier kids a normal life. yes workers do make mistakes in some of thier judgments but they are only human,its a tough job and not enough manpower due to not enough funding.

what would be a better solution go back to the old days of orphanages,yes that will really help kids know what its like to grow up in a caring loving family.

Rupert Smith

Foster care is not normal and these agencies have no responsibility, foster care has more abuse as well so if you are offended oh too bad. Many do this solely for the money as well and there is little to any monitoring when kids are in care and after they have been auctioned off in adoption no checks at all. The system needs to change, relatives taking care of the kids for one can make a difference instead of stranger care which is highly dangerous and unstable for a child. Your fear tactics do not make any sense as they are not real, the system has far more problems than anything as it is based on an archaic and faulty model that should be dismantled and replaced with a proper way to address this. And people will berate you self-absorbed fosterers too, this is not about you, this should be about kids so grow up.

Frankly your attitude is precisely why the system remains what it is, and having children routinely given to abusers is beyond a few mistakes? Were the workers fired, no of course not they never are either, time for real changes with the Ombudsman probing into them as well as police probes into a few of the most rotten of the lot.

These are systemic problems overall that must be dealt with, having fosterers dictating that the system is fine is intolerable and unethical, an Ombudsman review could cut through the hogwash and nonsense for the sake of these children instead of the ego of the these agencies and the paid shills that they support.

There is obviously a huge problem with this CAS, having three sex offenders abusing children in a few months attests to that, as mentioned this is one of many agencies, they all have problems, some should have been shut down years ago with a police probe as well, this cannot go on any longer, time for this to really about the kids -- not the damage control of CAS or the paid fosterers that work for them, a probe would be more than needed at this point.

Jesse Rollor Coaster

My Name is JESSE LARABEE. I was abused in a group home.

Please view this video here:

Jesse Rollor Coaster

I was abused in a group home for 15 years. The actions of the Respondent was intentional, malicious, and was done with the knowledege that it would cause myself humiliation. Do you want to know MORE about me and my experiences and ect?

Please view the links below:

Jesse Rollor Coaster

To all my brothers and sisters: I know your viewing this video. I know your scared. Contact me. We can be scared together and fight together.

To all the former CAS workers: You better get very used to seeing this sexy face. LOL I am going to be in your life for a very long time. No more silence from me. Will I lose my claims? There is always the chance i could lose because of our corrupt court system...... but I would rather talk about the abuse than just shut up.

Its like 2pac said "I'd rather die like a man, than live like a coward"

PS: Please pass this video on and share it with others. Why? So others can view the good information.

Jesse Rollor Coaster

Listen to JESSE LARABEE reporting abuse to CBC news here........

Curtis Kingston

Thank you Intelligencer for making sure to always do your part by making sure that there is a massive amount of good propaganda for the Children's Aid Society just as the truth is starting to seep out and they start to look bad in the eyes of the uninformed public.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with the idea of child protection in Ontario and I do believe that there are allot of good foster parents and CAS workers out there but unfortunately because of the way they are setup and the lack of independent oversight, these good stories and good people are rare in the system.

The Children's Aid Societies in Ontario are Private Corporations that receive their funding based on the number of children that they apprehend and place into foster homes. because of this flawed funding structure, the CAS regularly attempts to apprehend children form good homes and place them in homes where the do not care what happens to the children because they are already getting paid!

All I am asking for is proper accountability and oversight for these organizations so that these good stories will be the majority of cases unlike how it is right now.

I also am not sure why the Intelligencer feels the need to never talk about the bad stories even though they are in fact the majority and also why when there is a bad case, the Intelligencer purposely skews the truth to make the CAS look as good as possible.

I highly encourage everyone to look at the link below as it has a letter that was written to the Intelligencer by a young woman that was raped inside a foster home and the CAS tried to cover it up instead of helping and while the trial was going on the Intelligencer lied about the whole case and caused the victims more harm then good.

Please look at the letter to see the truth:

Rupert Smith

If you want change get rid of the Liberals, they are corrupt, dirty criminals that are barring Marin from investigating, they must go.

Jen Dhana Clarke

CAS is taking newborns from mothers once they are born at the hospital. Not by choice of any of the parents; solely for fostering/adoption. For every adoption they the CAS receive money. These babies are taken because the parents are inexperienced/young/ & or they grew up in Foster Care. Every parent is inexperienced and a lot of children had parents that were young.

More children die and or abused in foster care vs. children being brought up in their own familial home. Not all foster homes are bad, but the good one are an exception not the norm. Also there are children that shouldn't be in their homes due to abuse but again that is an exception not the norm.

We need the Ombudsman to look into all the abuse, abductions by CAS workers. We need to have these workers held accountable for their actions.

Children; usually through divorce are being placed with parent who has the money to fight in court and that parent is usually the abuser and is stopping a loving parent from having a relationship with their child. There is a lot of false allegations, it's up to registered workers to prove these allegations false but instead a lot of workers are not registered and take the child prior to proof of allegations.

Thousands of parents are fighting to have the Ombudsman have oversight over the MUSH sector which CAS is a part. We need to make the workers who place these children in these homes held accountable, make CAS (which is not a government agency) a not for profit agency.

Did you know that a lot of the money, toys etc donated do NOT make it to the foster kids. The social workers take them. Sad as a lot of the families can't provide these things and the kids have to go without. To me that is neglect and its the CAS's fault. That in it self is abuse.

Rupert Smith

Well said, the system is an unholy disaster and has been for decades, in fact since it started as it was never based on child abuse in the first place, it was based on eugenics.

Look for example at what they have done to the native communities, CAS has stolen their children for years, and mostly with horrific results as well, lots of abuse in foster care and adoption far more than in natural families just as you say. These agencies are also allowed to adopt themselves, thus they are taking kids for themselves and their fellow employees which is nothing short of criminal and another area to probe.

Stealing babies directly from the hospitals is not new, they have been doing this since they were started, they are aggressive right now as the Liberals have directed them to capture children for Liberal adoption, this is the fault of that party entirely, and they know what is going on too, they want this to happen.

An election may be called as Dalton is having a tantrum right now, he is used to being a bully and a dictator and the PCs and NDP are speaking out.

If we have an election it would help as the Liberals are corrupt and only protecting these agencies. The Liberals are a poison that must go if you want any level of change in Ontario, the more people that fight to get rid of them the better.

They are the direct fault of barricading any Ombudsman oversight as they want a full scale robbery for adoption purposes for votes, they must go. The best thing anyone can do is to vote them out if we have an election, they are corrupt, filthy criminals, ORNGE is not the last scandal.

It is sad that children are under the care of criminals as that is what the Liberals are.

Curtis Kingston

And the true opinion of Rupert comes out lol.

When I started as a full time volunteer advocate for children and families dealing with CAS and child protection matters via Canada Court Watch, I was very calm and watered down when I commented on this site and I still am on other news sites because I want to continue a good relationship with the other media to help the cause.

But weather or not you subscribe to this idea, after a while, I noticed and am now convinced that the Intelligencer for reasons unknown to me, weather it be that they are just afraid to speak the truth or that they actually have incentives to suppress the truth, they are indeed censoring the news and not giving the public the truth that they deserve.

That is why I am speaking out every time that I can because the public needs to know what is really going on.

Kimberley Edwards

CAS are abousing and even killing our children while in fostercare ! The pubilc are not hearing this because there is no oversite ! Our Liberal Government know what is happening but are hiding the true facts so there for the Liberal Government are corrupted also ! We the people,have our children stolen form good families and put up on forced adoption for profit ! We the people need to have an Ombudsman so our children can be safe!

Rupert Smith

Totally agree, CAS has always stolen children for adoption, they are corrupt.

Rupert Smith

The above documentary may help media to understand the problems that need to be addressed.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Support for Ombudsman

June 14, 2012 permalink

The County Weekly News, based in Picton Ontario, has editorially supported ombudsman oversight of children's aid societies.



Opinion Editorial

Ombudsman could allay CAS fears

Last year, Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society defiantly stood up against an amalgamated, regional child welfare body, turning aside a provincial suggestion to join societies in Belleville and Northumberland to the west in a tri-party agency designed to streamline and centralize regional services.

“We're all right, Jack,” was the response, in essence, from the County CAS.

Clearly, though, that's not the case.

First came the charges, conviction and jailing of foster parents Joe and Janet Turner Holm in 2011.

The latest example of trouble with the County CAS was last week when a 71-year-old Bloomfield man — a foster parent — was convicted of assaulting two of three girls who said he'd molested them some years ago.

While there has been much hue and cry over what could be wrong in an agency charged with looking after the welfare of children in its care after two convictions for child molestation, it's not over yet.

There's a third case yet to be heard. Following the conviction last winter of a Bloomfield couple, the county agency redoubled its efforts to investigate any and all allegations of abuse, which led to the uncovering of a third case, resulting in charges against Ronald Slatter, a 63-year-old Bloomfield man for sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation. His next appearance is slated for June 20 in a Picton court.

Bill Sweet, the County CAS executive director said: “While the (latest) verdict can never erase the harm and suffering the victims in this case endured, we sincerely hope that the jury’s findings bring some closure and allows all those involved to move forward.”

He went on to say that the aim of the agency is to ensure the safety of children placed in the care of area families and the expectation is that all families providing care will see to it that the children are “respected and well-treated.

“The Children’s Aid Society of the County of Prince Edward will not tolerate the abuse of any of those rights,” he said.

He said internal and external reviews have been carried out at the agency to ensure “we are meeting the most rigourous standards.

“These steps include more transparent and robust process in the investigation of complaints against foster parents,” he said.

They are meant to be reassuring words and no doubt they come after much introspection and deliberation among senior officials within the County CAS offices in Picton.

But, the public continues to understandably have doubts about the ability of the agency to protect its most vulnerable. Properly dismissing the allegations of the fringe groups who suggest children's aid societies are harmful to children and families, there are valid concerns that the proper safeguards are still not in place, that complaints of children of abuse are not being properly or earnestly vetted.

The latest calamities in the County as they pertain to children in care of the CAS only lend credence to the ongoing calls for an ombudsman to oversee issues regarding children's aid societies in the province.

It may well be that the time has come to give such an office a hard look.

For the sake of the children in the County and across Ontario.

Source: County Weekly News (Picton)

Fixcas must take issue with one phrase in the editorial: Properly dismissing the allegations of the fringe groups who suggest children's aid societies are harmful to children and families ... We suspect the author has not interviewed hundreds of families affected by children's aid, as fixcas has done. Instances of CAS helping families are real, but rare. In face-to-face private contacts between CAS workers and families, the workers candidly announce their intention to ruin the family. And our research from diverse sources has shown that the death rate in foster care is ten times that in parental care. Other forms of abuse not subject to such direct measurement can be reasonably assumed to scale at the same rate.

Addendum: Rick Conroy in the Wellington Times (Quinte area) agrees an inquiry is necessary, without mentioning the ombudsman.



See no evil

The facts, at least those that have surfaced, are deeply unsettling. Last fall, foster parents Joe and Janet Holm were convicted of sex crimes related to children in their care. Last week, an unnamed 71-year-old man was convicted of sexually assaulting children entrusted to his care. Later this month another man will stand before a judge to answer to charges of sexual assault upon children in his care. Children abused in homes provided by the Children’s Aid Society of Prince Edward County.

Children’s Aid Society. Just saying those words out loud sounds wrong, knowing what has happened to children in this agency’s care in this community.

When he was sentencing Mr. and Mrs. Holm to jail time, Justice Geoff Griffin strongly urged this community to push for an inquiry—to find out what had gone so horribly wrong with the Children’s Aid Society that it had put already victimized children in harm’s way. How an organization tasked with the solemn responsibility to protect vulnerable children, could have failed so badly. Not just once—but repeatedly. How many more stories of sexual abuse of children in foster care are out there?

It is well past time we found out.

Removing a child from his or her family is a grave duty—an act that must surely only be taken when all other remedies and actions have been exhausted. The stress and trauma of the destruction of this fundamental social structure must be balanced against the harm that the child may be subjected to by staying at home.

Even in the clearest of situations, this is a judgment call. A decision made by humans based on wobbly and moving variables—but one that we certainly must make as a community from time to time.

Surely when we do this, it is our non-negotiable, non-debatable obligation to ensure that the home, in which we place these damaged children is safe. Free from harm. Free from abuse. It is our duty to shield them from further evil.

But we know now that in at least two homes—perhaps more—we failed these children in this most basic of responsibilities.

The response from the Children’s Aid Society has been pathetic.

First, it did what most corporate perpetrators do when they get caught—hire a public relations firm.

Then the agency’s CEO Bill Sweet penned a press release last week claiming he shared the community’s outrage and among other things vowed to communicate better with foster parents, stating that the CAS would institute “regular compliance checks, reviews and enhanced supervision of foster homes and better training and support of foster homes.”

Really? It took a series of crimes against children in its care for this agency to figure out it should monitor and screen foster homes more closely?

Sweet writes that the Children’s Aid Society will not tolerate the abuse of children’s right to be safe, respected and well treated. These words must come as hollow comfort to the growing number of children who have been abused in foster care in this community under this agency’s watch.

This isn’t a public relations problem. This is a fundamental breakdown in the purpose and management of this community agency. And the victims are children.

We need a thorough inquiry into this agency. First we need to ensure foster kids in this community are safe. Then we need to understand what went wrong and begin making the necessary changes to make sure this never happens again.

We can have no confidence the Children’s Aid Society can do this on their own. At the end of the day it is the community’s job to keep our children safe— we’ve trusted this organization for too long.

It is clear we made a mistake. It is now our job to fix it.

Source: Wellington Times

Addendum: The Belleville Intelligencer adds its editorial voice to the call for ombudsman oversight.



Opinion Editorial

Time to shine light on dark corners of CAS

Recent news stories, particularly out of Prince Edward County in recent weeks, show unequivocally the current Children's Aid Society system is broken.

The extent of the damage and the best course to fix it remain a point of virulent debate.

Children's Aid in Ontario has always been an unusual beast in many ways. A private operation funded by the state with the powers of the state behind it, CAS has generally operated outside prying eyes, even the eyes of those paying the bills.

On the one hand, privacy is a key component to the CAS being able to undertake its responsibilities, namely to protect and assist children in jeopardy. Let's face it: it would be awfully difficult to protect children from dangerous parents if those parents could easily access all information about where those children are.

And let's be honest — there are plenty of people out there who pose a threat to their own children, through both violence and neglect.

The problem with secrecy, however, is that it is a double-edged sword; it not only protects the children in the system, it also protects those who wish to use the system for nefarious, rather than just, causes.

Some of those have recently been brought out of their dark shadows into the light.

In recent months, three people have been convicted of continuously sexually abusing children entrusted into their care by Prince Edward County CAS. Some of the victims were as young as nine and 10 when the abuse started.

Almost as troubling was the news this week that yet another foster parent is about to face sex crime charges in relation to a ward of the local CAS.

That revelation appears to contradict recent statements made by PEC Children’s Aid Society executive director Bill Sweet, who said, "I do not believe that there are any other (active) cases (investigations)," being managed by the society, meaning Sweet is at the very least ill-informed about what is happening in his organization.

Clearly changes need to be made. And while the PEC incidents may be isolated ones, they may not. Certainly when it comes to the safety of children, it is better to be safe and look at everyone rather than not.

In an editorial last week, our sister paper, The County Weekly News, opined, “The latest calamities in the County as they pertain to children in care of the CAS only lend credence to the ongoing calls for an ombudsman to oversee issues regarding children's aid societies in the province. It may well be that the time has come to give such an office a hard look.”

We agree completely. Some light needs to be shone into the dark shadows where predators lurk. We urge the provincial government to get busy turning on that light.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Again, one point needs clarification. The Intelligencer says: And let's be honest — there are plenty of people out there who pose a threat to their own children, through both violence and neglect. Another assertion that is probably not the result of measurement. Let's be even more honest. People who pose a threat to their own children are uncommon, even among families affected by children's aid. Our assertion is the result of speaking to hundreds of families targeted by CAS.

Inside Report

June 13, 2012 permalink

Vern Beck reports on his discussion with a CAS insider.



Vernon Beck

I would like to thank the CAS worker of over 20 years who called Canada Court Watch today to provide Canada Court Watch with some interesting inside information about the inside operation of the CAS. Again, thanks for watching this site and taking the time and interest to call us. There still are some social workers out there with a conscience and yes, we will protect this worker's identity as requested.

Seems that even experienced workers are aware that CAS agencies are not acting in the best interest of children and that money is what it is all about. One thing this worker reported was how CAS workers themselves were taking donations made by businesses in the community during charity fundraisers for the needy and basically stealing them as there is no record of donations such as gift cards, etc.

As the existing CAS system begins to crumble you can be sure more workers are going to come to Canada Court Watch to report what this worker said were "unlawful" acts.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Ombudsman Amendment Act
(Children's Aid Societies)

June 12, 2012 permalink

Monique Taylor
Monique Taylor

Tabatha Haskett While surrounded with advocates today after introducing PM bill110, Monique Taylor assures that the second reading will happen this October. So, now it is up to us advocates to communicate with the last remaining MPP's to get them on board. We can do it! Lets hit the ground and finish this bill once and for all! :)

Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...

Eleven supporters of ombudsman oversight (and three children) were in the galleries while the bill went through first reading. Photo link. The Ontario Coalition for Accountability is keeping track of the MPPs position on this legislation.

The text of the bill is enclosed.



Bill 110, Ombudsman Amendment Act (Children's Aid Societies), 2012

Taylor, Monique

Bill 110 2012

An Act to amend the Ombudsman Act with respect to children's aid societies

Note: This Act amends the Ombudsman Act. For the legislative history of the Act, see the Table of Consolidated Public Statutes – Detailed Legislative History at

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

1. The Ombudsman Act is amended by adding the following section:

Ombudsman may investigate children’s aid societies

14.1 (1) Anything that the Ombudsman may do under this Act in respect of a governmental organization, the Ombudsman may do in respect of a society as defined in subsection 3 (1) of the Child and Family Services Act.


(2) If the Ombudsman does or proposes to do anything in respect of a society as defined in subsection 3 (1) of the Child and Family Services Act, any reference in this Act to a governmental organization is deemed to be a reference to the society.


2. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.

Short title

3. The short title of this Act is the Ombudsman Amendment Act (Children's Aid Societies), 2012.


The Bill amends the Ombudsman Actto allow the Ombudsman to investigate any decision or recommendation made or any act done or omitted in the course of the administration of a children’s aid society.

Source: Legislative Assembly of Ontario

Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas introduced Neil and Tabatha Haskett in the legislature (video mp4). There is a video of the supporters. No cameras were permitted inside the legislature. Local copy (mp4).



Advocates attend the 1st Reading of Bill 110

Advocates Neil Haskett, Tabatha Haskett, Vernon Beck, Curtis Kingston, Bobbie Gellner, Chris York, Lilliane Lalonde, Pat Niagara Kelly Mackin and Maureen Fennelly at Legislative Assembly of Ontario. attended the 1st reading at Queens Park in Toronto on June 12, 2012.

Source: YouTube

Addendum: The next day Monique Taylor questioned the provincial premier on granting ombudsman oversight over children's aid societies. Eric Hoskins, answering for premier McGuinty, repeated the claim that oversight is already adequate. Here is the video of Monique Taylor and Eric Hoskins (mp4).

Walkerton Rally

June 12, 2012 permalink

Here is a press report of today's rally in Walkerton.



CAS Protest in Walkerton

A rally outside the Children's Aid Society in Walkerton saw about half a dozen people demanding more oversight of the organization.

Organizer Zane Sherwood says it's very traumatic for children to be placed in care and he accuses the Children's Aid Society of unjustly taking children away from their parents. He says he would like Ontario's Ombudsman to have the authority to oversee and investigate complaints about the Children's Aid Society. That is the case in every other province in Canada.

Walkerton rally
Photo by CKNX

Source: CKNX

The rally was reported on CTV (mp4). A better copy has been promised.

Ministry Checks Out Prince Edward CAS

June 12, 2012 permalink

The enclosed article has more spin than fact, but it appears that the Ministry of Children and Youth Services is unhappy with the performance of the Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society, which allowed its foster parents to engage in sexual abuse (including rape) of its foster children.



County CAS under review

A government investigation spurred the overhaul of procedures at Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society.

Officials from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services recently drafted a number of reforms, including the need for improved documentation, at the Picton-based child welfare entity where three foster parents have been convicted in the past six months for sexually assaulting children entrusted into their care by the agency.

The ministry wanted to do its own review to satisfy its concerns that “everything that should have been done, was done and to safeguard things for the future,” said Bill Sweet, the society's executive director.

“They decided that they would launch their review and we co-operated fully with them and participated in it,” he said.

The ministry-led team stepped in last December just weeks after penitentiary terms were meted out against a Bloomfield couple, two child predators who molested numerous children placed in their care. The third offender, a 72-year-old Bloomfield man, is awaiting a July 6 sentencing date in a Picton court.

Senior staff at the County CAS also spearheaded a joint review to complement the ministry efforts. Both reviews have led to more stringent investigation procedures, said the director.

“The ministry was involved and conducted its review together with us,” Sweet said.

“It was, in some ways, a reinforcement of some of our own findings,” Sweet said of the ministry review.

There was also some new findings arising from the process, such as immediate need for the society to improve its efforts “to ensure that documentation is timely and includes all details.”

The ongoing saga of the abuse cases and subsequent investigation have had a “significant impact” on everyone involved with the agency because “it has been unfolding now for more than a year,” he said.

The agency will now have more staff dedicated to reviewing referrals for potential foster parents, in an effort to detect prior complaints or concerns relevant to a request to provide care.

Case workers having prior history with foster parents under investigation will now be asked to provide input about their previous interaction with the caregiver.

Sweet, however, is fully cognizant of public scrutiny and concern about potential gaps in the agency's foster parent program because of the nature of the assaults and the number of people convicted just months apart.

In terms of the handling of the society-led investigations against the recently convicted foster parents, Sweet is convinced that all the ministry-mandated requirements were met.

“We looked at what we did in terms of the investigation and all the steps were taken,” he said.

The majority of the changes now underway will be directed toward internal reform, which he says is aimed at unearthing information crucial to shoring up the investigative process.

Sweet credits the internal shakeup for sexual assault charges being levied against Ronald Slatter, 63, another former foster parent who appear in court June 20.

The director was unable to comment on other potential “investigations that are currently underway.” He, however, hinted that “I do not believe that there are any other (active) cases (investigations)” being managed by the society presently.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Dad Sentenced for Caring for Child

June 12, 2012 permalink

Newfoundland father Shannon William Benoit has been sentenced for taking his own child from foster care.



Man gets house arrest for taking son from foster home

It’s not often that a Crown attorney urges leniency in sentencing, but that was the case when Shannon William Benoit went before the judge to find out what would happen to him Monday.

In the end, Benoit was given seven months of house arrest for forcible confinement and two breaches of court orders.

The charges stem from an incident in November 2010, which involved Benoit and his partner, Jessica Bailey, taking their own child after a scheduled visit with the foster parent who had custody of the infant.

The couple had no legal authority to take the child at the time, but left with their son in a taxi and drove back to Corner Brook from the foster home in Benoit’s Cove.

Bailey, who was found to have had a knife in her jacket when arrested by the police upon their subsequent return to Corner Brook, has already served an eight-month prison sentence for unlawful confinement and carrying a concealed weapon.

In provincial court Monday, it was Benoit’s turn to be sentenced.

Crown attorney Mike Fox said that, while the offences and Benoit’s criminal record — mostly thefts and drug offences, seemed to call for jail time in an institution, that may not be in the best interests of him and his family. Fox said Benoit is on a “lifelong journey of rehabilitation” and putting him in jail would not help him.

He told the court that the motivation for Benoit agreeing with Bailey’s decision to take their child was essentially their attempt to get the attention of Child, Youth and Family Services as the couple had become frustrated in their dealings with the agency.

Fox said there was never any threat to the foster parent and, in fact, the couple told the foster parent where they were going with their son.

Fox told Judge Catherine Allen-Westby that Benoit would not constitute a risk to the community if he was to serve his sentence under house arrest.

Defence lawyer Brian Dunphy thanked Fox for his understanding of this case and for making a reasonable submission on sentencing. Dunphy endorsed Fox’s suggestion as a joint submission, telling the judge that his client may have made a poor decision but has taken responsibility for his offences.

Benoit said as much when asked if he had anything to say before being sentenced.

“I know what I did that day was wrong,” he told Allen-Westby.

In agreeing to accept the joint submission, which included 12 months of probation, Allen-Westby told Benoit that she hoped this sentencing marked a turning point in his life.

Source: Western Star

Father Protects Daughter

June 12, 2012 permalink

Recently fixcas reported on the case of three girls raped by their foster dad. When the incident was reported to their legal parent (the Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society), the agency took no action for six years. In today's story, see what a real parent in Texas did when encountering the same situation.



Dad beats daughter’s alleged molester to death

A father who said he saw a man molesting his 4-year-old daughter behind a barn in Lavaca County apparently beat the man to death Saturday afternoon, officials said.

The death occurred about 3:45 p.m. at a horse barn along County Road 302 near Shiner, about 127 miles west of Houston, said Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon.

Harmon said the victim, a 47-year-old Gonzales man, died at the scene. His name has not been released because his next of kin has not yet been notified of the death.

No arrests have been made in the case. Harmon said a grand jury will probably to determine what, if any charges, will be filed.

Harmon said the father and daughter were at their barn with several other people to groom and care for horses there. The victim came with some of the other people, but was not well-known, if all, to the father and child.

The group later heard the girl screaming behind the barn, Harmon said. Her father ran to see what was wrong and said he saw the man allegedly sexually assaulting the child. While pulling the man away from the girl, he hit the man several times in the head, Harmon said.

The girl was taken to DeTar hospital in Victoria to be evaluated and to have tests done to determine if a sexual assault occurred. She was released later.

The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office is expected to perform an autopsy on the victim to determine what caused his death.

Source: Houston Chronicle

Addendum: No charges.



Grand Jury: father's action was justified

Heather McMinn, Joey Edmonds and Micah Harmon
District Attorney Heather McMinn, flanked by Texas Ranger Joey Edmonds and Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon, speaks during Tuesday's news conference

Grand Jury: father's action was justified

HALLETTSVILLE -- The Lavaca County grand jury has cleared of any wrongdoing the father who beat to death a man caught raping his five-year-old daughter -- and the father is heard pleading on a 9-1-1 call for emergency medical help to prevent the man from dying.

At approximately 3:43 p.m. on June 9, authorities received a 9-1-1 call from a distraught father urgently seeking medical care for a man who had been assaulted at a ranch in Lavaca County near Shiner. The man was later ruled dead at the scene.

25th District District Attorney Heather McMinn told a news conference at the Lavaca County Courthouse on Tuesday the grand jury had heard the compiled evidence in the case and returned no indictment against the father, saying that "substantial evidence" supported the father's story, including the results of a medical examination of the little girl.

As part of that evidence, officials played a recording of the 9-1-1 call placed by the father. Officials named the man Tuesday, but The Cannon will not publish that name because doing so would identify his child.

"I need an ambulance!," the man tells the 9-1-1 operator. "A man was raping my daughter and I beat him up and I don't know what to do."

As the 9-1-1 operator attempts to get the man to confirm his location, he says in a panicked voice: "I need some help! ... The guy's going to die if y'all don't help."

At one point the father confirmed that other family members were attempting CPR on the attacker, and he says at another point he might try to load the man into his pickup truck to try to get him to a hospital.

"Under the law in the State of Texas, deadly force is authorized to stop a sexual assault," McMinn said.

The attorney for the father, V'Anne Huser of Shiner, said the family is hopeful the grand jury's action and the release of the 9-1-1 tape puts an end to speculation and insinuation by some in the national media.

"You don't have to run after the 'big story' any more," she said. "Be respectful of the fact that the child the father was defending the victim of a sexual assault."

Huser thanked McMinn's office, Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon and the Texas Rangers for treating her client with respect and professionalism throughout the ordeal.

"This is a 23-year-old man who is a peaceable soul," she said.

She said the family is ready to put its lives back together.

"This has been a tragic event in their lives," Huser said. "They want to move on. For us, the story is over. By doing this today, they can start the healing process."

Sheriff Harmon on Friday identified the dead man as 47-year old Jesus Mora Flores, who had a driver’s license showing a Gonzales address. Harmon later confirmed that Flores was a resident alien with a valid work visa, but no details have been released about where he lived in Gonzales or whether he was employed anywhere other than the ranch where he died.

A news release from Harmon said that upon arrival, law enforcement and emergency medical personnel observed Flores on the scene suffering from numerous injuries to the head and neck area. After talking to witnesses on the scene, it was discovered that a witness observed Flores forcibly carrying the child off to a secluded area. The witness ran for help and alerted the child’s father.

At that time the father heard a scream and ran in the direction of the sound, eventually coming upon Flores attacking his child. The father immediately removed Flores from on top of his child and in the process inflicted several blows to the man’s head and neck area.

“The physical evidence at the scene appeared to substantiate the father’s account,” said Harmon. “When emergency medical personnel arrived, Flores’ pants and underwear were down and the man’s genitals were exposed.”

Further investigation, which was assisted by the Texas Rangers, included an autopsy, a physical exam and forsenic interview of the child and several detailed witness statements. All of the physical evidence gathered, and the witness statements, corroborated the father’s statement, Harmon’s news release noted.

The results of the preliminary autopsy report were released by Yoakum Justice of the Peace Alene Lyons, which said Flores died from “blunt force head and neck injuries.” The manner of death was ruled as a homicide. Lyons said the entire report will likely be released in the next six to eight weeks depending on how soon the toxicology report is completed.

“Sheriff Harmon made the right decision in not arresting the father at the time of the incident," a news release from McMinn on Friday said.

Harmon indicated that he believed the child’s father was very remorseful and did not intend to kill Flores.

“This case has been very traumatizing on the child, her father, and his entire family,” he said.

Source: Gonzales Cannon

Hamilton Rally

June 11, 2012 permalink

Today's rally at the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Hamilton featured some new faces. Photos: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7].

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Cas Ontario On June 11, 2012, Members of Canada Court Watch and members of the community of Hamilton came together outside the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Hamilton to Demand Accountability and Transparency by the Ombudsman over the agency as well as the other 48 other CAS agencies in Ontario. A lot of information was handed out, lots of signatures obtained, several hundred honks, many numerous stories heard and it was all due to the FANTASTIC turnout and great support from the citizens of Hamilton and surrounding areas.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Here is the video YouTube and local copy (mp4).

Bobbie Gellner took advantage of the opportunity to interview a family on their way to CCAS for a visit with their children. They tell of their three year ordeal of dealing with CCAS. An informant says this is the same family involved in an earlier accusation.



June 11, 2012 - A Family Torn Apart by the CCAS of Hamilton

This Family was torn apart by the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Hamilton and is fighting to see there kids. This family is not Catholic yet are dealing with the Catholic agency because the family that children were placed with have 27 years of fostering with this agency.

Source: YouTube

Video local copy (mp4).

In another interview by Curtis Kingston a father says CAS forced him to keep his wife out of his house in order to see his children, what fixcas calls a shotgun divorce. The father did not have his own microphone, making his voice difficult to hear over background noise. local video (mp4).

Ombudsman Bill to be Introduced

June 11, 2012 permalink

Tomorrow afternoon in the Ontario legislature Monique Taylor will introduce the bill providing for Ombudsman oversight of children's aid societies. You are invited to attend.



Ombudsman Bill to Oversee Ontario’s Children Aid Societies to be introduced Tuesday


Please join Accountability Advocates from Stop the Children’s Aid Society from taking Children from Good Parents, the Ontario Coalition for Accountability, CAS Ontario, and all the other CAS groups from across Ontario on Tuesday, June 12, 2012, at the Ontario Legislature (Queens Park) in Toronto as Monique Taylor, MPP (Hamilton Mountain) introduces the next Ombudsman Bill.

This Bill would allow the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate complaints of Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies by both Child Protection workers and Families. Currently Ontario is the only Province not allowing investigations of these Non-Governmental Corporations.

If you wish to attend,

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto.
The afternoon session around 3:00 PM EST. (arrive much earlier)
111 Wellesley Street West Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A2

Come early its first come first serve for Visitors Gallery passes.

If you or your organization wish to be introduced by your local MPP (they are not obligated to do so) call their constituency office immediately and politely notify staff you’re a constituent who will be visiting the Ontario Legislature during tomorrow afternoon’s session.

Mobile phones, Cameras etc. are not permitted inside so check all valuables at the coat check down the ramp just to the right of the Main Entrance after you get your Visitor Gallery Pass.

Got a Question? Please contact us on Facebook or by Phone: 705-805-2322 (please leave a message).

Source: Ontario Coalition for Accountability

One more suggestion for those attending: dress in good clothing, like you were going to court or church.

New Family Structures

June 11, 2012 permalink

A study just published in the journal Social Science Research compared the life of adults growing up in intact families to those who had experienced same-sex parenting for part or all of their childhood. The researcher was careful to select a random sample of US young adults, then interviewed the subjects to determine their kind of household during childhood and some of their outcomes as adults. The results show that children growing up in same-sex households have a number of statistically significant differences from those growing up in intact (mother and father) bio families. They score higher on:

  • Currently cohabiting
  • Family received welfare growing up
  • Currently on public assistance
  • Currently unemployed
  • Had affair while married/cohabiting
  • Ever touched sexually by parent/adult
  • Ever forced to have sex against will
  • Family-of-origin negative impact
  • CES-D depression index
  • Attachment scale (depend)
  • Current relationship is in trouble
  • Frequency of marijuana use
  • Frequency of smoking
  • Frequency of watching TV
  • Frequency of having been arrested
  • Frequency pled guilty to non-minor offense
  • N of female sex partners (among women)
  • N of male sex partners (among women)

and score lower on:

  • Currently employed full-time
  • Voted in last presidential election
  • Identifies as entirely heterosexual
  • Educational attainment
  • Family-of-origin safety/security
  • Closeness to biological mother
  • Self-reported physical health
  • Level of household income
  • Current relationship quality index

Because the sample included more lesbian parents than gay (male) parents, these results apply mostly to the children of lesbians. Statistically significant says nothing about the magnitude of the difference, it means that if the effect was not real, the likelihood of getting the observed result would be less than one in twenty.

The study is How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study by Mark Regnerus. Here is a local copy (pdf).

Addendum: There are many critical rebuttals. Here is one one not laced with gay advocacy.



The Regnerus Gay-Parenting Study: More Red Flags

By now almost everyone has had a whack at the recent Mark Regnerus (University of Texas) study claiming that young adults who report having a gay parent score worse on a range of life-success indicators than children from intact biological families. According to the study, these kids as young adults have lower educational attainment, are arrested more often, and have more trouble in their own relationships, among other problems. Critics have pointed out that the story is mostly one of collapsed heterosexual families, not "same-sex parenting": The great majority of the kids were born to male-female couples, most of the presumedly gay dads and many of the moms didn't get custody of their kids after their relationships dissolved, and few of the kids were actually raised through long periods by gay couples. LGBT advocates point out that sociologist Mark Regnerus accepted $695,000 from the anti-gay Witherspoon Institute to carry out the study.

But many critics have missed one of Regnerus' most unexpected findings, one that may illuminate his study's shortcomings. Specifically, and feeding into pretty much all the other problems, the study diagnoses children of gay parents as having a huge problem with poverty. Here's Regnerus:

Sixty-nine (69) percent of LMs [respondents with lesbian mothers] and 57% of GFs [those with gay fathers] reported that their family received public assistance at some point while growing up, compared with 17% of IBFs [those with intact two-parent biological families]; 38% of LMs said they are currently receiving some form of public assistance, compared with 10% of IBFs. Just under half of all IBFs reported being employed full-time at present, compared with 26% of LMs.

Those are big gaps. And of course they're much at odds with the affluent image of gay families presented in both pro- and anti-gay-parenting literature as well as Modern Family-style popular entertainment. What do they signify?

Probably the biggest single reason is the one cited at the outset: This is mostly a survey of what happens when heterosexual families crack up. (Interestingly, if a married couple stayed together, they were counted as an "IBF," no matter whether one or both partners pursued same-sex liaisons.) Decades of data indicate that children of family breakup do worse than children whose parents stay together, on many variables related to adult success. One reason, though not the only reason, is that they grow up significantly poorer.

But divorce, though important, doesn't explain all the difference. The children tagged as having gay parents had a degree of disruption of family life that went beyond what's found in most divorces. "Fifty-eight (58) percent of those whose biological mothers had a same-sex relationship also reported that their biological mother exited the respondent's household at some point during their youth, and just under 14% of them reported spending time in the foster care system," writes Regnerus. For a substantial number, their biological mother and father had never been married in the first place. Many kids went through periods of care by grandparents and absence of both biological parents. Even those skeptical of gay parenthood might not have predicted this particular cluster of difficulties.

The Witherspoon Institute, discussing the study's findings, adds another clue: "48% of the respondents with a GF, and 43% of the respondents with an LM indicated that they were either black or Hispanic." Those numbers sound awfully high, and they are. They far exceed the roughly 30-percent black-plus-Hispanic share of the U.S. population. Why would young adults with minority backgrounds and a high rate of economic distress report having far more than their share of gay parents? Are they somehow more likely to grow up in homes with actual gay parents? Or are their parents somehow being overclassified as gay?

We can only speculate, but the answer might be: a bit of both.

For one thing, the study is likely to have picked up a number of transracial adoptees. In the years before the so-called gayby boom of recent years, one of the few accepted ways for gays and lesbians to become parents without risk of losing custody was to parent hard-to-place kids from the social-service system, among the hardest to place being older, minority kids, especially those with behavioral, emotional, or medical challenges. Even with superb care from a gay or lesbian adoptive parent, a 13-year-old who's bounced around foster care for years and been pulled in and out of school placements can find it hard to catch up with peers who haven't had those disadvantages.

Another possibility is that kids from poorer, troubled families might be more likely to have a parent coded in the study as "gay." In a move that has come in for much criticism, the researchers applied that label to parents from non-intact families if they ever, even once, engaged in a same-sex "relationship" after the child's birth. As we know, many heterosexuals do enter same-sex relationships from curiosity, opportunism, or entreaty, perhaps especially if they don't have great options otherwise. A lonely straight mom, for example, might check out the grass on the other side of the fence if her "real" husband or boyfriend were serving time, or if she were in prison herself. Parents with chaotic, mercenary, or try-anything-once love lives are more likely to engage in a single, uncharacteristic fling. ("Mom's dating was always a challenge for us; she must have had a dozen boyfriends and once even a girlfriend.")

Regnerus acknowledges that the highly unstable family structures that abound in his study are of limited relevance in predicting the outcome of today's "intentional gay parenting," as it is called, which has burgeoned greatly since the childhoods of the 18- to 39-year-olds he interviewed. But he also insinuates that gays don't maintain stable enough relationships to make them good candidates for parenthood. (His patrons at Witherspoon have advanced exactly the same theme in recent weeks, as has Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage, or NOM.) Thus Regnerus speculates as to whether his findings "may suggest that the household instability that [his study] reveals is just too common among same-sex couples to take the social gamble..."

But his study "reveals" no such thing. It's true that most of the kids he interviewed didn't live with a parent's partner for long periods, but he's wrong to jump from that to the conclusion that gay parents aren't as good as (some) straights at settling down into stable home life. What he seems loath to acknowledge is that in much of America through at least the 1980s (and in some places still), gays trying to parent kids from an earlier heterosexual relationship ran very serious risks if they tried to live openly with a partner. Social ostracism of you and your child was just the start. Courts could deprive you of custody, especially if there was an unfriendly ex-spouse in the background; some even forbade mere visitation with a gay partner present. Under this kind of pressure, some gay parents fled to make a new start elsewhere, at the cost of distancing themselves from their children; others hung in there but accepted as part of the deal that they had little hope of setting up house with the right person should that person turn up. How sad that the very atomization inflicted by law and society should be cited decades later as proof that gay parents are unfit to care for their children.

It was clear from early on that the Regnerus study didn't prove what its backers claimed it did. At this point -- considering the way it fails to handle the issues of proper identification of who's gay, divorce, adoption, poverty, discrimination, and disincentives to stable partnership -- it's bristling with more red flags than a rally in central Pyongyang.

Source: Huffington Post

two moms

Child Snatchers Avoid This Family

June 11, 2012 permalink

A British father drove home from a pub leaving his eight-year-old daughter Nancy alone. British social services have not intervened in the life of this family. The father is prime minister David Cameron.



PM left daughter aged 8 down pub

Camerons' nightmare

David Cameron and Nancy
Fright ... PM David Cameron and Nancy

HORRIFIED David Cameron got home from a Sunday lunch with family and friends — and discovered he had left his eight-year-old daughter in the pub.

He dashed back and found little Nancy with staff at the Plough Inn in Cadsden, Bucks.

No 10 said: “The PM and wife Samantha were distraught when they realised Nancy wasn’t with them.”

Nancy got left in the pub loo when Mr Cameron drove off after his lunch.

She wandered off to the Ladies as the PM and Samantha were arranging lifts — and they only realised she was missing once they were back home.

Downing Street said: “The PM and Samantha were distraught when they realised Nancy wasn’t with them.

“Thankfully when they phoned the pub, she was there safe and well.

“The PM went down straight away to get her.”

The Camerons and children Nancy, Arthur, six, and 22-month-old Florence had been having Sunday lunch with two other families at the Plough Inn near the PM’s country home Chequers. Afterwards the PM went home in a car flanked by bodyguards, thinking Nancy was with Sam and their other children in a second vehicle.

David Cameron with Nancy and Arthur in 2007
Hold on tight ... PM David Cameron with Nancy and Arthur in 2007

Sam thought Nancy had jumped in with her father.

Mr Cameron drove the two miles back to the 16th-century pub and found Nancy happily helping out the staff.

She was away from her family for about 15 minutes.

Plough Inn
PM's lunch spot ... Plough Inn
Doug Seeburg

A Plough insider said: “You’d have thought someone would have done a headcount or something.

“Pub staff found their daughter in the toilet and didn’t know what to do.

“It’s not like you can look up David Cameron in the phone book and then ring to say, ‘You’ve left your daughter behind’.

“It’s frightening the Prime Minister of Britain can forget something so important as his own daughter.”

Country home ... Chequers

Friends of the PM have recently told how he likes “chillaxing” at Chequers at the weekends.

They say he enjoys watching films on telly, napping and enjoying three or four glasses of wine with lunch.

Source: Sun (UK)

Dangerous Apprehension

June 10, 2012 permalink

A mother dealing with Kingston CAS reports on an incident that placed her son in jeopardy. There have been other cases in which a child died during apprehension. The only reportable case is that of Denver Daniel Parvin, who jumped from the social worker's car during his apprehension.

Donna Lynn Neil Wondering if anyone is aware of rules governing CAS legally kidnapping a child from school. My son is 13 years old and severely ADHD. The CAS worker took a student social worker and went to the school to apprehend my son. As soon as he saw them, and the police car outside, he ran. He was gone for hours, crossing busy streets, running through streams and marshes. My family and I truly believe that he was in danger during this time, due to his state of mind, his disability, and the running. Also during this time, the police and CAS broke into my home three times and searched it, looking for my son. My two older boys asked for a warrant each time, and all three times they were told they didn't need one. So, they kicked in my door, got in my sons' faces, called them liars... at this time, I had been arrested at work, so, didn't pose any kind of threat to my 13 year old. When confronted on this later by numerous family members, the CAS worker told us that if my son had to have been killed while running, that it's too bad CAS isn't responsible. We have been fighting for month to have CAS allow my son to access counseling through Pathways to help him deal with that trauma, and the trauma of being put into a foster home where he sat on the stairs for two days and was deteriorating fast. He was even suicidal, but no one has offered any kind of counseling or help for it.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Baby Scoop Exposed

June 10, 2012 permalink

Following the earlier series by Kathryn Blaze Carlson in the National Post the Ottawa Citizen is taking its turn at exposing the forceful separation of babies from single mothers at birth a half-century ago. There is no hint that just as many children are taken now, though not always at birth. Instead of sin the justification has morphed to best interest of the child.



Victims of the ‘Baby Scoop Era’ speak out

Young unwed mothers were once sent to institutions like Ottawa’s Bethany House where they forced to relinquish their babies at birth. Several of these women share their story of suffering with Shelley Page.

Sue Foster
Sue Foster and one of her dogs “Sassy” is a birth mom who was forced to give up her daughter for adoption 42 years ago. She was hidden away in a home for unwed mothers, called Bethany, in Ottawa. She has searched for her for many years.

Sue Foster and one of her dogs “Sassy” is a birth mom who was forced to give up her daughter for adoption 42 years ago. She was hidden away in a home for unwed mothers, called Bethany, in Ottawa. She has searched for her for many years.

OTTAWA — Sixteen, pregnant and scared. That was Evelyn Morin in 1964. She dreamed of marriage to her boyfriend Rolly. Instead, she was forced into Bethany House to protect her family’s reputation, give away her baby, and be “remade a virgin.”

At the Salvation Army’s secrecy-shrouded home for unwed mothers on Wellington Street West, Morin fell into a strict life dominated by chores and chapel, shame and silence.

She rose at daybreak, lined up for breakfast and then went to chapel. She practiced sewing and needlework, peeled potatoes and turnips, then went to chapel, again. On Sunday afternoons she took the bus to visit the boyfriend who is now her husband.

“I felt like I was in jail,” she says. “I celebrated my 17th birthday alone.”

Her water broke during evening prayer and through her long labour next door at the Grace Hospital she was denied painkillers. When she screamed the nurse told her, “You girls like the game but you can’t stand the pain. You’re getting all that you deserve.” Afterward, Morin wasn’t allowed to hold her son. “The nurse held him up at the window so I could look at him,” she says. Then her parents’ lawyer took the baby away and gave him to his new mother.

Morin is one of the handful of women who shared stories with the Ottawa Citizen — some speaking openly for the first time — about having their children taken away from them at the Hintonburg institution during the “Baby Scoop Era,” between 1942 and 1972.

Most of the former Bethany “inmates,” as they were called, say they were offered no option but to go into hiding and then, after giving birth, to relinquish their children. The social workers who visited the mothers-to-be from the Children’s Aid Societies concealed information about social assistance. Later, at the nearby Grace Hospital, medical staff refused to supply painkillers, but instead doled out drugs that dried up the teenagers’ milk. In some cases, the girls were tied to their beds to suffer labour alone.

Their stories, so long untold, are particularly relevant now: City staff has recommended granting heritage status to the building that has housed Bethany House, now Bethany Hope Centre, since the 1920s.

Experts say the three-storey red-brick structure is a noteworthy example of early 20th century “institutional architecture,” with such classical design elements as pillars on the front porch, a central pediment, and a massive front lawn.

But some of the mothers who passed through Bethany’s doors say more attention should be paid to what occurred within its walls.

“There should be a plaque,” says Thelma Verreault, who stayed there in 1965. “Recognize what we were made to go through.”

Says Sue Foster, who is still searching for the daughter she gave birth to 42 years ago: “They should burn it down.”

Ottawa’s Bethany House was whispered about, but most teenaged girls had no idea of its location until their parents dropped them there. It, along with other homes for unwed mothers across Canada, was the site of a social experiment.

Before the post-War period, mother and baby weren’t routinely separated. instead, they were cared for in maternity homes, bound together in a life of shame and limited opporunity. The mom was a “fallen women” and her baby, “illegitimate” or a “bastard.”

After World War II, with the rise of the professions of Social Work and Psychiatry, it was decided that unmarried mothers could be made marriageable.

Instead of being saddled with a ruined reputation and a baby, these girls were returned to society to fulfill their proper role as wives and mothers at a later time.

“There was a perfect storm to create the conditions of the Baby Scoop Era,” says Valerie Andrews, an unwed mother who stayed at a Salvation Army home in Toronto and is executive director of Origins Canada.

“White, single, unmarried women had their babies taken away in a mass way. At no other time in history has this taken place.”

Origins Canada, which advocates on behalf of “natural’ mothers, has called for an inquiry into the religious institutions that ran homes for unwed mothers and were involved in a “conspiracy of coerced and forced adoptions.” These homes received a substantial portion of their funding from provincial governments.

These babies were often put in the arms of childless couples, which addressed another social imbalance. “Post-war, there was a significant emphasis on the nuclear family,” says Lori Chambers, author of Misconceptions: Unmarried Motherhood and the Ontario Children of Unmarried Parents Act, 1921 to 1969. “Childless couples felt society was judging them a bit. It was very intense in the Ozzy and Harriet era. Adoption was the solution.”

For the unwed mothers, the homes could either feel like jail or an escape from a hostile home environment. Some girls were happy to be cloistered with others in their predicament, relieved to place their baby in a good home with more mature parents and return to their pre-pregnancy lives.

But Andrews maintains the girls were shown no other options than giving away their babies. The techniques used to dehumanize and weaken the girls included taking away their identity, freedom, power and choice.

Fifty years after her experience at Bethany House, Sandra still is not comfortable sharing her last name.

“The shame I feel is overwhelming,” she says.

She became pregnant by her soldier boyfriend in 1961. Nineteen years old at the time, she worked for the government as a data entry clerk but lived at home. Her parents made her quit her job in her fifth month and stay in her bedroom wearing a housecoat to hide her stomach.

When her dad couldn’t stand to look at her any longer, she was taken to Bethany.

Her father visited her once during the three months she was there. It was hot out that day, but when she walked across the street to his car she wore a heavy coat to hide her pregnancy. When she got in the back seat of his car, “He wouldn’t turn around to look at me,” she remembers.

“I was actually relieved to be [at Bethany]. It was better than home. But they really made me understand that adoption was the only option. I didn’t have a husband. They told me I couldn’t make it on my own. What I’d done was wrong.”

Her freedom of movement was strictly limited. She was sometimes allowed to go to a nearby corner store with other inmates. “We’d wear gloves so no one would see we didn’t have wedding rings,” she says.

The girls called these their “gloves of shame.”

Sue Foster’s parents told friends and neighbours that she was going away to a boarding school for a semester. “Switzerland would have been nice,” she says dryly, 42 years later.

The waiting room at Bethany House was beautifully appointed and the Major who ran it had an elegant office. But once past the locked doors, it was like a ward. Each room had a bed, a Bible and a night gown laid out.

Bethany’s inmates gave up their own clothing, money and belongings. They wore clothes that had been donated.

They also had to submit to a greater authority, whether the home administrators or God. They followed strict rules that included daily chores and chapel twice a day. If they did their chores properly, they were given money for the payphone.

Foster’s job was to sweep and mop the multiple flights of stairs. She had a dust allergy, and her coughing fits meant she didn’t finish on time. “I didn’t get a lot of rewards.”

She did get a lot of criticism.

“There was a daily barrage reminding us that we were there to give up our babies. We were bad people who disgraced our families.” she says.

One of Sandra’s jobs was to set the table for the Bethany House administrators and make sure it was “just so.”

She liked the strictness because she felt, in some ways, she needed to be punished for getting pregnant.

Some of the pregnant girls were sent to “wage homes” as “mother’s helpers.”

Verreault, 18 and pregnant, was sent to be a domestic servant for a mother who had five children. “It didn’t work out so well. I lost a lot of weight because I was working so hard.” She was moved to another home to assist a woman who had just adopted a baby from one of the unwed mothers at Bethany.

“Taking care of a baby when you were about to lose your own was pretty cruel,” says Verreault.

And the inmates also say they weren’t readied for labour, delivery or the aching emptiness that remained after their babies were gone.

Following a 20-hour labour, Foster was kept in a private room off the maternity floor, according to her father’s wishes.

A few days later, a nurse came up to the room carrying her baby. She asked Foster, “Do you want to see the most beautiful baby in the world?” Foster replied, “My father won’t let me.”

She only ever saw her baby’s back.

She still recalls how the emptiness felt. “There is a profound emptiness which is almost indescribable. The ache in my body was so horrible. I wanted to hold my child, my milk was there to feed her and I was supposed to act like none of this happened and go back to my normal life.”

After the birth, her mother bound her chest with a tensor bandage to hide her engorged breasts.

Sandra’s experience was different. She was allowed to hold and nurse her baby for several days before she was taken away by her parents’ lawyer. “Apparently, once I knew what it felt like to loose a baby, I’d never let myself end up pregnant and unmarried again.”

She can’t remember the baby’s face, but will never forget the yellow layette in which she was swaddled.

Morin, who had wanted to run away with her boyfriend, ended up marrying him. They wished they could have kept their first child.

“If we would have known we could have put him in foster care until we were the marrying age, we would have,” she says. “We were told we had no choice.”

Afterwards, they were told to move on, and Morin put up a moat around her heart.

“I was numb. I never cried. My dad would ask me, ‘What is the matter with you? Your house could blow up around you and you would just stand and laugh.’”

Bethany House evolved into a home that helps teenage mothers keep and care for their babies.

The Salvation Army declined to comment for this story, other than to say:

“These homes were operational during a time when there was a tremendous social stigma attached to being an unwed mother . . . The Salvation Army is currently conducting an internal review of the operation of these centers, including the treatment of our residents.”

The former inmates of Bethany House say they welcome such an investigation. Their stories remain a painful reminder of a time before the sexual revolution when girls who broke the rules were hidden away.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Contempt of Court

June 9, 2012 permalink

In the case Christopher Booker has been following for several months, social services has refused to comply with the judge's order to return a baby to France. Previous articles: [1] [2] [3].

Not mentioned by Booker, in this kind of a power struggle there is little the judge can do to force compliance. Fines would only transfer money from one account in the public treasury to another. Jailing the caseworker who is in the courtroom would have little effect, because she is not the real decision-maker.



The baby abducted from France is still being kept from its parents

Social workers display an astonishing contempt for the High Court.

UK social workers have taken to snatching children abroad who have never even lived here - The baby abducted from France is still being kept from its parents
UK social workers have taken to snatching children abroad who have never even lived here
Photo: ALAMY

One of many things to surprise me, as I have investigated the nightmarish underworld of our “child protection” system, has been the contemptuous way in which our social workers seem so willing to disobey the orders of judges. This is the third week running when I have had to report on an order given by Mr Justice Bodey in the High Court on May 21, that Norfolk social workers must, “as soon as practicable”, return to France a baby born in France to an English couple who last year settled there.

These council officials had spent nearly £20,000 of taxpayers’ money travelling to France to seize the baby, on the argument that it was “habitually resident” in England, even though it had never lived here. Judge Bodey rejected their bizarre argument, ruling that the English courts had no jurisdiction over the child. He discharged the orders made by a lower court and ruled that the child must be returned to France no later than June 1.

The social workers at first said they could not meet this deadline, because the baby didn’t have a passport (though that had not prevented them from bringing it to England in the first place). A stream of emails from the lawyers representing the distraught mother were ignored, until finally the council was threatened with further legal proceedings and the social workers agreed to return the child to France. But now they say they cannot do so until June 15 because one of them is on holiday.

It is truly remarkable that, while some 200 mothers a year are imprisoned for “contempt of court”, for breaching orders made by judges in family cases, when social workers similarly show contempt for court orders, they and the councils they work for seem to believe they can do so with impunity.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

contempt of court

Mother's Love

June 9, 2012 permalink

Ohio mother Gwendolyn Golder loves her children enough that she is staying in jail rather than turning them over to social services.



Police: Mom keeping children from county

Gwendolyn Golder
Gwendolyn Golder

The Cincinnati Police Department is looking for help locating two young children whose mother has refused to relinquish custody to children’s services.

Gisaiah Golder-Mumphrey and Gabrielle Marie Gebrselassie were last seen several days ago through a window by a caseworker at 1736 Bleecker Ave. in North Fairmount with their mother, who refused to answer the door.

The mother, who lost custody of the children to Hamilton County Job and Family Services, refused to provide the children’s whereabouts to the caseworker, police said.

According to Hamilton County Justice Center records, the mother, Gwendolyn Golder, 19, is being held there for contempt. The children are believed to be with an unknown friend of Golder; police are attempting to find this person.

“We don’t know where they are, but we want to get them to a safe place,” said JFS spokesman Brian Gregg, noting that the agency was granted custody of the girls on Friday.

Gregg said that parents “periodically” refuse to give up their children.

Gabrielle Marie Gebrselassie
Gabrielle Marie Gebrselassie
Gisaiah Golder-Mumphrey
Gisaiah Golder-Mumphrey

“Sometimes they put the children with someone else who doesn’t even know that we have custody,” he said.

Gisaiah is described as a 10-month-old, light-skinned black female, 28 inches tall and 20 pounds, with brown eyes and brown curly hair. Gabrielle Marie is described as a 2-year-old, light-skinned black female, 3 feet tall and 30 pounds, with brown eyes and brown curly hair.

Anyone with information is asked to call police dispatch at 513-765-1212 or Crimestoppers at 513-352-3040. To send a text message, type “cintip” and the message, then send it to CRIMES (274637). Callers may remain anonymous and may receive compensation for their information.

Source: Cincinnati Enquirer

Addendum: The children were picked up a few days later, but the mother remains in jail.



Missing children found safe late Monday

Two children, who have been missing since last week after their mother lost custody, were found safe late Monday, according to the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services.

The children are in foster care, said Brian Gregg, agency spokesman.

Cincinnati Police put out an alert over the weekend asking the public to help after the children’s mother, Gwendolyn Golder, 19, refused to turn them over to Job and Family Services when she lost custody.

Golder remains at the Hamilton County Jail. She is scheduled to answer to a charge of contempt of court before a juvenile judge on Friday.

A family friend apparently told authorities where the children were staying.

Last week, a JFS caseworker stopped by 1736 Bleeker Ave. in North Fairmount to see the children, Gisaiah Golder-Mumphrey, 10 months, and Gabrielle Marie Gebrselassie, 2, but Golder refused to answer the door, police said, prompting the search by Cincinnati Police.

Source: Cincinnati Enquirer

Walk for Family Law and CAS Reform

June 9, 2012 permalink

David Roblin

David Roblin is planning a walk for family law and CAS reform. It is to start on July 1, Canada Day, in Ottawa and proceed to Kingston and Toronto. A video announces the plans, YouTube and local copy (mp4). A large class of people is unaware of what is happening in the name of child protection, but is well aware of the abuses taking place in family law. Mr Roblin is asking for the assistance of a volunteer driver for a month. For more information see the Facebook group Children's Foundation for Family Law & CAS Reform. The YouTube blurb is enclosed.



Walk Across Ontario For Family Law & CAS Reform

A dynamic person that is well educated, mature and highly determined who resides in Kingston Ontario, Canada, is so passionate with conviction for worldwide Family Law Reform that we have planned and are now preparing a walk across Ontario from Canada's Federal to Ontario's Provincial Legislative Assemblies.

The starting date and location for this walk is July 1, 2012 (Canada Day) from Parliament Hill in Ottawa and will continue on to Queen's Park in Toronto and may continue on from there. There will be multiple stops in key locations along the route.

July 1st is the most fitting day to begin the walk for multiple reasons. One thing we would like to mention is, because there has been a lot of discussion to have Provincial wide rallies on Canada Day, we think it would be best if we were to conduct rallies simultaneously on July 1st at multiple locations across Ontario.

The walk will receive support under the name of a newly formed organization called "Children's Foundation for Family Law & CAS Reform", and it is our hope that our children's voices will be heard throughout this walk by means of media attention and through endorsements by every concerned group across Canada.

Most importantly, we welcome assistance from people in any way, shape or form. One thing we are still in dire need of is a person or persons that would be willing to film this journey so it can be produced as another break through documentary for our cause!

Anyone that is looking for more information or is willing to help in anyway with this walk, please Email or look up our new page on Facebook "Children's Foundation for Family Law & CAS Reform.

Source: YouTube

Social Worker Punched

June 8, 2012 permalink

A Manitoba man punched a social worker visiting his home.



Man charged after social worker punched

A social worker was treated at hospital after being punched in the upper body during a home visit, police say. They've arrested and charge a suspect.

The male worker reported the incident at the police station just before 5 p.m. on June 6, after he was released from hospital.

He told police that he was at a home in the 800-block of 14th Street when he was involved in some kind of a dispute with a man living at the home. The worker was punched, and went to Brandon Regional Health Centre to get his injuries treated.

Police say they were able to locate and arrest the suspect.

A 47-year-old Brandon man is to appear in court on July 23, on a charge of assault.

Source: Brandon Sun

Little Current Rally

June 8, 2012 permalink

Here are two photos of yesterday's rally in Little Current. [1] [2].

Neil Haskett This was at the remote satellite office on Manitoulin Island for Children's Aid Society of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin. The organizer John Fox who lives 600km away has been relentless with the CAS across Ontario as well as the other Island advocates who even includes a former OPP Officer and CAS Director, a Chief and Grand Chief who've banned CAS from the reserve.

Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...

Family Rights for British Columbia

June 8, 2012 permalink

Felicia  Ciardullo

Felicia Ciardullo, who says her son was taken without cause, is conducting a one-woman campaign for family rights in Kamloops BC. Here is a copy of the video (m4v) accompanying the article.



Family Rights Protest

Young Kamloops mother fighting Ministry of Children and Families - hopes to make election issue

A young Kamloops mother is out to make children's and family rights an election issue after the Ministry took her 3 year old son. She says her son was taken without just cause.

Felicia Ciardullo agrees laws need to be tough to protect children truly at risk -- but says that wasn't the case with her son. Se wants him out of ministry care and placed with a capable family member for the time being. She adds the system is so inflexible innocents get caught up in it, and it's almost impossible to fight.

Ciardullo plans to take her fight to street corners around Kamloops, and has been speaking with political hopefuls as well.

Source: CJFC-TV

Foster Father Convicted

June 7, 2012 permalink

On June 6 a jury in Picton Ontario found a man guilty of sex crimes committed while acting as a foster father to three teenaged girls. The news articles below, and earlier press reports, do not define the actual acts. According to an informant who has spoken to one of the accusers, it was not oral sex but involuntary intercourse. The abuse was reported to CAS in 2004, but they took no corrective action for six years while it continued.

Enclosed are two press articles, the first gives the facts of the conviction, the second reports CAS outrage at the events without accepting responsibility for placing children in the derelict home, and leaving them there for six years after finding out about the abuses. Following that is a letter from one of the teenaged accusers. For authenticity, it is left in the original wording of a foster teen. The name of the accuser and the accused are replaced by Miss Teen and Foster Malefactor. According to the girl, the abuse never would have happened had she been left with her real mother.



County sex predator convicted

A County foster father has been found guilty of numerous sex crimes against two girls, but was acquitted in relation to similar allegations from a third female complainant.

The jury reached a guilty verdict on six of nine counts late Wednesday morning, following a deliberation that began Monday evening.

The 71-year-old convicted man, who cannot be identified under court order, has been ordered to return to court for sentencing on July 6, but was not placed in custody until that time. The sex criminal senior had been accused of assaulting three girls placed in his care by the Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society over a six-year time frame, starting in 2004.

The three complainants, now in their late teens, testified to being sexual assaulted by the accused over several years during their stay at Wellington, then Bloomfield, foster homes he operated with his wife.

The court heard that complaints were filed to police and CAS officials in Feb. 2005 by two of the complainants, who left the home just months apart, but no charges resulted from the allegations.

The first girl left the home in the summer of 2004. The second came into the home shortly after and lodged the assault complaint while in the home on Feb. 2005, a day after the first girl came forward.

No charges were laid until the fall of 2010, about four months after the July exit from the home by the third girl who complained that she too had sex numerous times with the accused.

A court-imposed publication ban blocks the media from releasing any information that could identify the complainants.

The embargo also extends to the name of the accused, who was found guilty of two counts each of sexual assault, sexual exploitation and invitation to sexual touching.

While finding him guilty of the charges stemming from the first and third complainant, the jury declined to convict on any of the allegations brought by the second girl, who left the home in the fall of 2004 after spending six months in the home.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

County CAS decries sex crimes

The County children's aid society said Wednesday it shares the community's outrage at the conviction of the second County foster parent within months to be charged with sexually assaulting children placed in the agency's care.

Following Wednesday's findings of guilt against a 71-year-old former County foster father, convicted of molesting two girls, entrusted in his care by the Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society, the head of the agency released a statement denouncing the man's actions.

Bill Sweet, the County CAS executive director said, “While the verdict can never erase the harm and suffering the victims in this case endured, we sincerely hope that the jury’s findings bring some closure and allows all those involved to move forward.”

He went on to say that the aim of the agency is to ensure the safety of children placed in the care of area families and the expectation is that all families providing care will see to it that the children are “respected and well treated.

“The Children’s Aid Society of the County of Prince Edward will not tolerate the abuse of any of those rights,” he said.

He said internal and external reviews have been carried out at the agency to ensure “we are meeting the most rigorous standards.

“These steps include more transparent and robust process in the investigation of complaints against foster parents,” he said.

He also pointed to the ongoing implementation of “stronger protocols to ensure better communication between supervisors and senior staff at the society, regular compliance checks, reviews and enhanced supervision of foster homes and better training and support of foster homes.”

This is the second case in less than a year that involves sex crime convictions against foster parents who had children placed in their care by the County CAS.

In November 2011, Joe and Janet Turner Holm, a Bloomfield foster couple, pleaded guilty to a litany of charges ranging from possession of child pornography, sexual assault and invitation to sexual touching.

Janet was sentenced to three years in prison and her husband received a four-year sentence.

Backlash from the Holms' fall conviction prompted the county agency to examine its internal policies, which led to the uncovering of a third case, resulting in Ronald Slatter, a 63-year-old Bloomfield man, being charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation. His next appearance is slated for June 20 in a Picton court.

“Without question, this has been one of the most difficult chapters in the long history of the (County CAS),” he said. “With this stage in the legal process now behind us, we rededicate ourselves to our mission: protecting the safety and well being of children in this community.”

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Miss Teen

Belleville, ON

The Belleville Intelligencer
199 Front St. Suite 535
Belleville, ON

Chris Malette - City Editor
Bill Gilski - Regional Managing Editor


Dear Shitholes at the Intelligencer!

My name is Miss Teen. As you are aware, I am one of the victims in the current court case that you are reporting on in Picton where I and two other innocent children were sexually assaulted by Foster Malefactor while in his "Care" at a foster home. I have since been dealing with the enormous amount of stress and depression due to what happened to me 8 years ago in that sad excuse for a home.

I completely understand that because of the publication ban that is on this case, the Intelligencer has no choice but to leave the names and any other identifying information for anyone involved in the case including myself, the other victims and the awful excuse for a man that did this to us but this is no excuse for the Intelligencer's sad disgusting portrayal of what is really going on in this case and I believe that the intelligencer is purposely attempting to make Foster Malefactor look innocent and make me and the other two victims look like liars even though anyone sitting in the courtroom knows that this is not what is really going on.

I am not sure why you are doing this but I want you to know that this suppression of the facts of how the case is really playing out and making Foster Malefactor look completely innocent and us like liars seems like the Intelligencers way of further victimizing me and the other victims by causing us further harm and unnecessary depression and anguish that we certainly do not need at this time!

Just look in the mirror and think about how you people would feel if you were victimized like we were and then received the same disrespect and disregard to the truth from the media as you are doing to us girls.

I just really hate how you guys are portraying this and publishing lies about how this is really playing out.

I am also extremely angry at the Intelligencer's horrible and immature response to a letter that was written to you by a good friend of mine on May 17th 2012 that touched on not only the way that you are portraying this case but also how you are not doing any real investigation and/or possibly censoring anything to do with the Children's Aid Society.

The person that wrote that letter is extremely educated on how the CAS really operates and has also been helping me along with other great advocates in this time were I really need support so when I see the Intelligencer laughing at him and making him sound like he is just crazy I just want to let you know that he is not crazy, Unlike the Intelligencer, he is trying to help expose the extreme corruption, lies, deceit and the shear amount of damage that they do all the time to innocent children and families.

I just want you to know that while your newspaper is writing all of this horrible bullshit propaganda that makes the CAS look like great people, they in fact have lots of deep dark dirty secrets that you are helping them suppress and they never helped me at all. In fact they did much more damage than good, for one thing if I were never taken from my loving mother, this horrible chapter in my life would have never happened to me and my life would have been allot better without their involvement. Even worse is the fact that these people act like they are here to help and then they took me from my loving mother and put me into a home where they let this happen to me even after I told them about it, they let it continue for years and they did not care! Does this sound like a bunch of great people to you?

I believe that the reason that they allow this to happen is so that they do not look bad. This is because they always have a complete disregard for "The best interest of the child". All they really care about is the best interest of themselves and their paychecks!

They do not care what happens to us when we are in their "Care" because they are already getting paid!

These people in my opinion take children from good homes because they are a private corporation and get money for every child that they can abduct.

They abducted me for no reason and look what happened to me!

I really hope that your newspaper goes out of business as all that you are doing is lying about everything that you publish and because of this, you are a sad excuse for a media organization and you are hurting allot of people.


Miss Teen

PS, I just wish that you had some respect for us girls because you don't know what happened to us behind closed doors!


Terry Bush - Editor, EMC Belleville

Adam Bramburger - Editor, The Picton Gazette

Todd Smith - MPP

Source: private communication

The accused maintains his innocence even after conviction and plans to appeal.



Sex criminal insists he's innocent

A county foster parent convicted of numerous sex crimes remains defiant as he awaits a judge's decision on the duration of his penitentiary term.

The Wellington man says he's innocent and intends to fight for his freedom in the wake of a Picton jury finding him guilty, last month, of six counts stemming from the repeated sexual abuse of two girls placed in his care by the embattled Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society.

“I'm fighting this,” said the 71-year-old, while exiting a Picton Court Friday. “I'm innocent.”

The man, who can't be named due to a court ordered publication ban aimed at protection the identity of the victims, remains steadfast that he has been wrongfully accused and convicted.

His stance was also confirmed by defence lawyer, Mike Pretsell, who informed Justice Jennifer Blishen that his client “plans to appeal the matter” despite being found guilty of molesting the two girls who were nine and 10 at the time the acts occurred.

A pre-sentence report, tabled before the hearing, also confirmed that the offender maintains his innocence ... even making disparaging remarks towards his accusers. Pretsell asked Blishen to avoid viewing his client's stance as an aggravating feature during her sentencing consideration.

That was disputed by Crown attorney, Jodi Whyte, who said his utter lack of understanding of the verdict, coupled with the hurtful remarks, towards the victims is telling of his inability to show remorse.

“He holds these girls in contempt,” Whyte said.

Trading in the formal attire he wore throughout the trial for jeans and running shows, the man seemed prepared for his impending fate Friday afternoon.

His trip to the Millhaven correctional facility was delayed, however, due to a late start of the sentencing hearing, caused by a sudden family emergency faced by Blishen, who requested additional time to draft a sentence.

The hearing was adjourned until Aug. 17 and he will be confined to house arrest until that date, despite attempts by the Crown to have his bail revoked.

The visibly disgruntled sex criminal, who cared for at least a dozen young children over a seven-year period that ended in 2010 after the third complainant came forward, told The Intell that he refutes what he called inaccuracies presented at trial.

“I feel I did a wonderful job as a foster parent,” he said.

He was in the midst of divulging additional comments before being ushered away by his bewildered wife, who demanded that he remain mum.

The hearing also featured sentencing submissions from both defence and the prosecution along with the filing of a handful of victim impact statements, including those of the two girls now in their late teens.

During the reading of her statement, one of the victims said she's caged in by the “disgusting details” of being forced into a sexual affair with a man she considered a father.

“I despise what you did to those other girls,” she said, while staring towards her abuser.

The 17-year-old, chastised him for robbing her of her innocence and ability to trust. While acknowledging her inability to reclaim what he took, she vowed to not let her damaging experience ruin her.

The two victims, now in their late teens, testified to being sexually assaulted by the accused over several years during their stays at Wellington, then Bloomfield, foster homes he operated with his wife.

The court heard that complaints were filed to police and CAS officials in Feb. 2005 by one of the complainants, but no charges resulted from the allegations.

No charges were laid until the fall of 2010, about four months after the July exit from the home by the third girl who complained that she too had sex numerous times with the accused.

He was found guilty of two counts each of sexual assault, sexual exploitation and invitation to sexual touching.

While finding him guilty of the charges stemming from those two complainants, the jury declined to convict on any of the allegations brought by a third girl, who also testified at the trial. The Crown is asking for a minimum 10-year term, while Pretsell contend that five to six year term would be more fitting considering his client's age.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Addendum: A month later the Wellington Times gives a thoughtful opinion.



Demand answers

The accusations against a man now convicted of sexually abusing two children in his care were made to police and the Children’s Aid Society in 2005— seven years ago. A then-11 year old told police and her Children’s Aid Society caseworkers that the man being paid to care for her was having sex with her in his home—a home he shared with his wife and other children.

The police and the Crown anguished over what to do but concluded they didn’t have sufficient evidence to make charges stick in 2005. Presumption of innocence is a key pillar in our judicial system and the burden of proof must be compelling. If the Crown had pushed and failed, it may have jeopardized any chance of convicting the man in the future. It was the word of an 11-year-old girl against that of a man in his sixties.

It was a sad and disappointing outcome. The young girl had battled through the domineering and oppressive control of her foster parent and brought the horrifying details of his abuse out into the open. Yet nothing happened. Justice did not come.

But things were about to get unimaginably worse. Rather than find a new place for her to live, the Children’s Aid Society sent her back to the home of the man she accused of abusing her.

It would take another five years of abuse— and two more young girls to come forward with accusations against the man—before charges were laid. In the meantime, she was forced to endure the most despicable violation— day after day. Knowing that no one was coming to save her. There would be no escape from this hell.

As she explained in a statement at the man’s sentencing hearing last week, she was forced to grow up much earlier than a child ever should.

She says she is stronger. She is clearly determined and driven. Yet it is hard to imagine how she endured—how she survived. Particularly since the individuals and institutions charged with protecting her were the very ones either abusing her, or putting her in harm’s way. She says no one can understand what she has endured.

Only after charges were laid in 2010 did the CAS finally remove children from this man’s care.

The now 71-year-old man is set to spend a goodly portion, if not all, of his remaining days on this earth in prison, pending an appeal of his conviction.

There is another culprit that has yet to be dealt with, however.

The CAS had enough information in 2005 that it should not have sent a vulnerable child back into this evil home. Even if there were holes in the 11 year old’s story—why take the risk? Why did she have to go back there? Were there no other options?

Perhaps there wasn’t enough evidence to bring a conviction in 2005, but there were plenty of warning signs that should have prevented the CAS from even considering sending this girl back in there. There were enough suspicions that they ought to have removed all the children in the care of this man and his wife.

This case reveals fundamental and unforgivable breaches of the responsibility we have entrusted to this public agency. CAS exists precisely to protect vulnerable children from harm. The state puts these children in CAS care to ensure their safety.

Yet it is clear now that the CAS has, instead of protecting children, put several children in this community in harm’s way. It failed to heed warnings that bad things were happening to children in its care. It is, at least partly, responsible for what happened to these children. They cannot hide behind ignorance, due process or vague promises to do better. They had one primary duty and they failed.

This agency must be held to account for its actions. The board must step in and clean house. It is clear now that there is rot in this organization. It must be exposed and cleared out. If the board won’t do it—the province must.

We owe it to one 18 year-old-girl who was betrayed by the very people we put in charge of looking out for her.

Source: Wellington Times

Addendum: CAS executive director Bill Sweet has responded, apparently to the case of the girl identified as Miss Teen. He contends CAS records show the girl was removed from the home as soon as she complained. A likely explanation for his contention: CAS did not record the girl's earlier complaints.



CAS responds

Embattled child protection agency goes on the offensive

Nearly three weeks after this newspaper reported allegations that an 11- year-old girl was returned to her foster family after she complained of inappropriate sexual conduct, the local CAS now says the story is untrue.

“None of the complainants in that case spent a single, further minute in that foster home after the allegations were made,” said Elaine Philip, incoming chair of the Children’s Aid Society of Prince Edward County. “That is our practice in all cases. And our files indicate that this was the case in this instance.”

CAS Executive Director Bill Sweet repeated the assertion.

“You are mistaken in your history. There were three complainants. When each young person made their complaint they were removed from the home and they were never returned.”

Pressed to add more substance to his assertion, Sweet simply repeated that the Times was wrong in its reporting.

“Your record is entirely inaccurate,” said Sweet. “But we are not in a position to share file information—but I can tell you right now that when any of those young people complained they were removed from the home and they never returned.”

Source: Wellington Times

Addendum: The malefactor has been sentenced, but has been granted bail pending appeal.



Foster parent sentenced but could be freed

A former County foster parent has been granted an appeal for several sexual assault convictions for which he was sentenced to nine years Friday.

In parcel with the appeal process, the 71-year-old was granted bail by a court of appeal judge Friday afternoon, just hours after being whisked off to a Quinte area jail to start serving his prison term.

Justice Jennifer Blishen condemned the sexual predator to the nine-year term for sexually abusing two girls entrusted in his care by the Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society.

He has vehemently maintained his innocence since being found guilty by a Picton jury of preying on the girls who were nine and 10-years-old when the acts occurred at his Wellington and then Bloomfield foster homes.

Details of the bail are cloudy but sources close to the case say the offender could be released by Saturday. He will be barred from residing with his wife in Prince Edward County.

Appeal proceedings were happening almost simultaneously to the sentencing in Picton. His wife and a Toronto lawyer acted on his behalf during the hearing at the Ontario Court of Appeal Friday afternoon.

The man, who can't be named because of a court-ordered publication ban guarding the identity of the victims, was placed in handcuffs and whisked away to the Quinte Detention Centre, from where he will be released into the custody of his son, acting as a surety.

His release on bail sets the stage for what could materialize into a lengthy appeal process. Defence counsel will now review transcripts detailing the entire case before drafting appeal documents. It typically takes six to nine months before a one day hearing date is set in Toronto, sources say.

Outside the Picton court Friday, Jodi Whyte, the Crown attorney, said a new trial could be one potential outcome of the appeal. Whyte was notified about 10 days ago that the bail request was pending.

“I'm confident we did everything we could in this case to guard against that (new trial),” she said. “If there is going to be an appeal, I'm hoping that it's expedited,”

Justice Blishen said the abuser expressed no remorse and was resolute in maintaining his innocence. He blamed the victims for fabricating the stories and claimed the girls colluded out of spite and vindictiveness.

Blishen chided the man for his “disregard of the magnitude and severity of the offences.” A condemning pre-sentence report drafted before the hearing labelled the man a “highly manipulative” offender who is a less-than-ideal candidate for rehabilitation.

The girls, who were subjected to various sexual abuse ranging from oral to sexual intercourse over a six year period, ending in 2010, “suffered greatly,” at the hands of a man they trusted, Blishen said.

“They were both young, vulnerable little girls,” that were placed in the “hands of a sexual predator,” Blishen said.

The two victims, now in their late teens, testified to being sexually assaulted by the accused over several years during their stays at Wellington, then Bloomfield, foster homes he operated with his wife.

The court heard complaints were filed to police and CAS officials in Feb. 2005 by one of the complainants, but no charges resulted from the allegations.

No charges were laid until the fall of 2010, about four months after the July exit from the home by the third girl who complained that she too had sex numerous times with the accused.

He was found guilty of two counts each of sexual assault, sexual exploitation and invitation to sexual touching.

While finding him guilty of the charges stemming from those two complainants, the jury declined to convict on any of the allegations brought by a third girl, who also testified at the trial.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Addendum: Rick Conroy of the Wellington Times follows up with two investigative reports.



Warning signs

Former foster parent says she reported inappropriate behaviour to CAS four years before man charged

Patty Dorenberg says the local CAS knew it had a problem in 2006 with a man who would eventually be charged and convicted of sex crimes against foster children in his care. Dorenberg says she reported inappropriate and “disturbing” behaviour to her CAS resource worker after a bus trip she organized that year.

Dorenberg was on the executive of the Foster Families Association in 2006 when she arranged an outing of foster families to the Vaughan Mills mall on the northern edge of Toronto.

One foster parent caught her attention that day. The older man was rarely ever separated from the young girl in his care. “It was like they were boyfriend/girlfriend,” said Dorenberg. “They were holding hands and sitting on his lap—but not like a father and daughter would. She rarely went to play with the other children.”

Dorenberg says she didn’t witness anything overtly sexual between the man and the girl but as the day went on the “creepier” their relationship seemed to her. And it wasn’t just Dorenberg who felt this way. The following morning she reported the behaviour of the foster parent to her resource worker.

“The things I saw and other families saw that day were disturbing to say the least. At least two of us reported this to the CAS. Others were available to investigate the complaint had the CAS chosen to do so—but they didn’t.”

Dorenberg says that in 2006 she trusted the local CAS to do the right thing.

“I did my duty to report the inappropriate behaviour,” said Dorenberg. “I thought they were following this up. I reported this to my resource worker. She reported it to the director—it’s in the file—but it never went any further than this.”

Prince Edward CAS Chair Elaine Philip says there is no indication that a complaint was ever made about this incident.

“We have a strict process that includes involving the police if there is a suspicion of criminal behaviour,” wrote Philip in response to these accusations. “All incidents of this nature are recorded on file and senior staff are notified.”

But according to Philip there is nothing to indicate Dorenberg or anyone else complained about what happened at that mall on that day in 2006.

Dorenberg didn’t think much more about this incident until four years later when the now- 71-year-old foster parent was charged with sex crimes against children in his care.

“You trust your agency,” said Dorenberg. “Life goes on. Then you hear other things. Then it all breaks open and I you think, oh my God!”

The accused was found guilty by a jury in June and was sentenced to nine years in prison earlier this month. He is currently out on bail pending an appeal of his conviction.

Source: Wellington Times

‘Living in denial’

Dorenberg claims she was ‘squeezed out’ after complaints to CAS

Another former foster parent has come forward accusing the Children’s Aid Society of Prince Edward County of failing to provide sufficient “oversight, resources and funds” needed to appropriately care for the kids in its care.

Patty Dorenberg worked for the local CAS in the early ‘90s as a social work assistant. When she had her own children she decided to provide a home for foster children as a means to supplement her income.

“I loved it,” said Dorenberg. “Right from the beginning I thought this is what I was meant to do.”

While she continued to enjoy caring for the children assigned to her home, she says she became increasingly disillusioned about the local agency—particularly its inability to respond to the issues and concerns foster parents were raising.

“There is no leadership at the agency,” said Dorenberg. “It comes down to dollars and cents—all the time. Workers and foster parents aren’t receiving the training we are required to have. When you ask a question it takes forever to get an answer—if you ever get an answer.”


Faced with inaction, Dorenberg became an advocate for foster families and children in their care. She joined the executive of the Foster Families Association.

“People brought their problems and issues to me. I heard too many stories that just weren’t right. I tried to work with the administrators. They would listen, but nothing ever changed.”

She and others on the association executive decided to go around the director and bring their issues to the board. That was in June 2011.

“They really did not want to hear our complaints,” said Dorenberg. “They ridiculed us. “They didn’t care about items on the list. One board member said we were making it sound like the wheels were falling off the wagon. I said, ‘yes—the wheels are off the wagon.’”

Philip contradicts Dorenberg saying that when the board received the letter from the Foster Families Association, they instructed the executive director to investigate all the concerns outlined.

“As part of this investigation,” writes Philip, “PECAS staff contacted a number of the signatories, at which point it became clear that many were unaware of the letter’s contents and felt misrepresented by the Association. In response, the Executive Committee of the Board met with the FFA executive in May.”


Philip says the board told Dorenberg that it would not act upon the issues outlined because the views were “not universally held” by the association’s members.

Dorenberg says the board’s executive members accused her of acting on her own, not on behalf of foster families.

“We talked to our association and got as many signatures as we could. We couldn’t get everybody. But the CAS board executive accused us of not sharing all our concerns with our membership before they had signed it. We were accused of misleading our members.”

Phillip denies that anyone was ridiculed in the meeting and repeated her contention that Dorenberg’s concerns could not be taken seriously as they merely a “series of complaints that were not universally held” by the association.


Dorenberg says the board executive called in four foster families who had signed the list of concerns to meet with a board executive committee. She contends they did this as a means of intimidation.

“They put them on the hotseat,” said Dorenberg. “Of the foster parents they chose to interview—one was an employee, another was working toward an adoption. A third was planning to adopt. None wanted to make waves. I one hundred per cent believe they were trying to intimidate them.”

Philip says no board executive committee was formed. She acknowledges that three in-person interviews were conducted with the letter’s signatories. She says some of these in-person interviews were conducted at the request of the foster families “out of concern they had been misrepresented by the FFA.”

Philip says “the voluntary interviews would have no bearing on the administrative approval process for any of these officials.”


Soon after that, Dorenberg quit fostering children. She says she was already being “squeezed out,” by the agency. While she typically had three of four foster kids in her care, by the summer of 2011, just one was assigned to her home.

Philip says her agency deeply values the work done by dedicated foster families, and treats them with the utmost respect.

“We completely reject the suggestion that attempts have been made to force foster parents out of foster care,” responded Philip.


Dorenberg says she is coming forward now because the local CAS, in her view, is living in denial. “The CAS doesn’t seem to be learning from its mistakes. The system seems to be falling apart in Prince Edward County. No one seems to be acknowledging there is a problem here.”

Source: Wellington Times

According to a private communication from victim Miss Teen, the man we identified as Foster Malefactor was sentenced on January 7, 2015 to nine years in jail. Below the press reported the story a day later.



Appeal denied in foster kids' sex abuse case

BELLEVILLE, Ont. - The Ontario Court of Appeal has rejected a former Prince Edward County foster parent's appeal of several sexual assault convictions, and the man is headed to prison.

The 73-year-old man, whose name can't be released to protect the identity of his two female victims, launched the appeal immediately after he was found guilty in August 2012 of two counts each of sexual assault, sexual exploitation and invitation to sexual touching.

He had been released from custody since then.

The charges were laid by provincial police after two girls, entrusted to the man's care by the former Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society (now part of Highland Shores Children's Aid), were abused at foster homes in Wellington and Bloomfield between 2004 and 2010.

The children were nine and ten years old when the abuse, which included oral sex and sexual intercourse, began.

Hastings County assistant Crown Attorney Jodi Whyte says the court dismissed the appeal in Toronto on Wednesday and the man will now begin serving the nine-year prison sentence he was given upon his conviction.

Source: Metroland/Kawartha (Toronto Star)

OACAS Survey

June 7, 2012 permalink

The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies (OACAS) links to a survey on its homepage.

Take this survey!

The “I Am Your Children’s Aid” campaign tells the stories of youth, families, foster and adoptive parents and workers whose lives have been touched by their local Children’s Aid. Have you seen the “I Am Your Children’s Aid” ad on TV, or in print? Take this short survey!

Source: OACAS

This is your chance to let them know what you think. The questions refer to the I Am Your Children's Aid advertising campaign. See it on their webpage or a summary page by fixcas.

Jail for Flowers

June 7, 2012 permalink

Emily R Zavitsanos sent a floral arrangement and a card to the Pennsylvania home where her son lived with his adoptive parents. She has been sentenced to a term of one to seven years in jail. It takes steel bars to keep this mother from caring for her child.



Woman sent to prison for stalking family who adopted her son

A 57-year-old former Lebanon woman convicted of stalking a South Londonderry Township family who had adopted her son has been sentenced to state prison.

Judge Samuel A. Kline on Wednesday sentenced Emily R. Zavitsanos to state prison for 15 months to seven years and ordered her to pay a $500 fine for stalking. A jury convicted her at an April 18 trial.

Police said Zavitsanos made contact with a family that she had previously been convicted of stalking and harassing in 2008. According to court records, Zavitsanos is the biological mother of a boy that the family adopted after the child had been placed in foster care in 2003.

The court terminated her parental rights after a hearing on April 26, 2004, according to court records.

She was arrested after she sent a floral arrangement to the family's home and a card to the boy on May 14 last year.

Source: Lebanon Daily News

On Wednesday, a jury in Judge Samuel A. Kline's courtroom convicted Emily R. Zavitsanos, 57, Hagerstown, Md., of stalking a South Londonderry Township family who had adopted her son.

Police said Zavitsanos made contact with a family that she had previously been convicted of stalking and harassing in 2008. According to court records, Zavitsanos is the biological mother of a boy that the family adopted after the child had been placed in foster care in 2003.

The court terminated her parental rights after a hearing on April 26, 2004, according to court records.

She was arrested after she sent a floral arrangement to the family's home and a card to the boy on May 14 last year.

Kline set sentencing set for June 6.

Source: Lebanon Daily News

Family Saved

June 7, 2012 permalink


The family threatened by children's aid in October has been freed completely from CAS scrutiny. Baby Izabella is safe in the hands of parents Stan and Theresa.



Family saved from CAS

Pat Niagara Update: The young family that Niagara advocates and members of Protecting Canadian Children helped at the GNGH to bring home their newborn baby just got word this morning after a lengthy involvement with FACS Niagara that their file is due to be closed. This family educated themselves and were able to do the majority of their battle on their own. Way to Go Stan & Theresa!

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Stan Junior Barmak Case File Closed Notified Today as of end of this month our case file is Permanently closed last meeting with FACS worker coming this 14th recieving all paperwork and file information for our Daughter Izabella ,Thank you to everyone who was there to help us from the Beginning, you are amazing people who showed us kindness and compassion, caring and understanding, and if it wasn't for you all, we wouldn't be where we are today THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR YOUR SUPPORT :)

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Addendum: The file on this family was closed in July, 2012. Pat Niagara produced a video summarizing the case. YouTube and local copy (mp4).

Award for Velvet Martin

June 7, 2012 permalink

Velvet Martin has received an award from Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel for her efforts on behalf of disabled children. Her own child, Samantha Martin, died of a heart attack just after returning from a decade of neglectful foster care.



Local advocate wins service award

Edmonton mayor recognizes Velvet Martin's tireless advocacy for the vulnerable

Velvet Martin

STRONG VOICE - St. Albert resident Velvet Martin recently earned an award from Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel for her efforts to help the vulnerable. Martin's mentally disabled daughter died while in foster care.

St. Albert disabled persons advocate Velvet Martin recently earned an award usually reserved just for Edmontonians.

Martin spent years pushing for a new law to improve the rights of children with disabilities and their families after her 13-year-old daughter Samantha died while in a foster home. Martin’s efforts earned her an award for outstanding service from Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel during his annual mayor’s awards ceremony recently.

Martin said the honour makes her feel humbled.

“I hadn’t even prepared a speech. I just spoke from the heart when I went up … mostly about just the fact that the award actually recognizes Samantha,” she said.

Mandel gave Martin the award for outstanding service for advocating for the rights of children, youth, vulnerable persons and seniors in her community.

“I am inspired by these individuals and organizations who are building a more inclusive city where all Edmontonians can participate fully and share their gifts with the community. My congratulations and thanks to all the award recipients and nominees,” Mandel said in a prepared statement.

Samantha’s Law, the reason that Martin was able to receive the award, is an amendment to the Alberta Family Support for Children with Disabilities Act. It requires that participants in the Family Support for Children with Disabilities Program are recognized as legally distinct from children in protective services under the intervention model.

It means that the government needs to involve the families when figuring out funding for children with special needs.

“What Samantha’s Law did … it changed the way that the legislation looking at parents of children with disabilities focuses now,” she began. “Now you do not need to have your child move out of home in order to access the services. The services are provided to the family.”

She called the previous legislation an “archaic way of looking at individuals with disabilities.”

“When my daughter was born in 1993, we were actually forced to place her into an outside home for care because the government wouldn’t support natural families in home, which is totally crazy. Now what the legislation does is it defines children with disabilities in good homes separately from the child intervention model.”

All in the name of her daughter

Samantha Martin was born with a rare chromosome disorder called Tetrasomy 18p that results in several severe congenital abnormalities including a malformed heart and hip dysplasia. The Martins were forced to send Samantha to a foster home in order to access funding and services. She died in that care after suffering a heart attack at the age of 13.

Now employed by Transitions – the St. Albert agency that offers programs and services for people of all ages with disabilities – Velvet Martin continues to work hard to improve living conditions and make lives better every day.

Executive director Paul Fujishige said the award was well deserved. He called Martin a huge asset to the organization.

“Velvet is a true advocate and supporter of people with disabilities,” he said. “It was a tragic situation for her family but I do applaud her for turning the tragedy into something positive. It’s employees like that that are inspiring.”

Because the ministry of children’s services was involved in the case of her young daughter, there was a publication ban that prevented her from speaking about the system. Now, she can speak freely.

“To see her name on the plaque, that was huge for me because there are just far too many children that are dying anonymously and publication bans are protecting the wrong individuals,” Martin said. “It was really good to be able to tell her story and make sure that this doesn’t happen to somebody else.”

There are still things she wishes she could talk about but can’t at the present because of a fatality inquiry into her daughter’s death. The inquiry wrapped up in November but its report hasn’t yet been released.

Martin also works at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital helping families who have experienced a disability. She is also the spokesperson for Protecting Canadian Children, a group whose purpose is to stop abuses within the foster care system.

Source: St Albert Gazette

Golf Tournament Rally

June 6, 2012 permalink

A rally for accountability took place at the seventh annual Children's Charity Golf Tournament.

Pat Niagara On June 6, 2012 members of Canada Court Watch held a rally at the Whirlpool Golf Course where supporters of FACS Niagara were holding a golf tournament to raise funds for FACS. Early on in the rally the Niagara Parks Police approached the protesters to inform them that it was against by-laws to be protesting on Niagara Parks Commission property but in the end allowed the rally to continue. A big thank you goes out to the Niagara Parks Commission and their Police.

*Video Later tonight

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Photos: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8].

Video: YouTube and local copy (mp4).

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

International Torture

June 6, 2012 permalink

Wisconsin parents Martin and Kathleen O’Brien are accused of torturing their four adopted Russian children. Enclosed are accounts by American and Russian reporters.



Complaint: Lake Geneva parents stabbed, pepper sprayed children

ELKHORN — A Lake Geneva couple each face 10 felony counts of physically abusing their six adopted children after being accused of offenses ranging from spraying the kids with pepper spray to making them stand naked in the snow.

Martin and Kathleen O’Brien, both 49, also face seven additional misdemeanor counts of being party to a crime of disorderly conduct. If convicted of all felony counts, each would face a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

The Town of Bloomfield Police Department was notified Aug. 3 by the Walworth County Department of Health and Social Services that children adopted by the O’Briens were reporting abuse by their parents. Four of the six adopted children are siblings from the former Soviet Union.

The six adopted children range in age from 9 to 17. The couple have two biological sons.

The 17-count criminal complaint details different instances and types of abuse that it alleges occurred in the couple’s home at N2128 Clover Road. The couple, either independently or together, are accused of:

  • Stripping the children naked as part of punishment.
  • Dragging the children by their arms while the children were naked.
  • Kicking the children in the groin.
  • Spraying the children in the face and on the neck and chest with pepper spray.
  • Bending a child’s arm into a “compliance-type” arm bar.
  • Hitting the children with a stick.
  • Slapping the children in the face.
  • Stabbing one child in the hand with a knife.
  • Grabbing children by the throat and lifting them off the ground.
  • Striking children in the groin with a knee.
  • Picking one child off the floor by an ear causing the ear to tear and bleed.
  • Striking children with a ruler.
  • Placing one child in a “bin” while Martin O’Brien struck the outside of the bin with a log.
  • Striking one child in the chest with a flashlight
  • Forcing the adopted children to eat frozen loaves of bread off the floor before bedtime while the biological children watched.
  • Forcing the children to stand naked in the snow three to four times a year.
  • Locking the children in a bedroom for four to five days at a time.
  • Beating the children with a belt.
  • Choking one child because of a prayer he said.

The complaints indicate that the incidents occurred between Jan. 1, 2004, and Dec. 31, 2011. The children reported the abuse Aug. 3, 2011. The complaint does not say where the children are now.

Court records indicate the O’Briens were released Friday on $10,000 signature bonds after initial appearances. The court ordered that the O’Briens have no contact with the children unless court-ordered in an accompanying Child in Need of Protection or Services case.

Walworth County Judge James Carlson scheduled a preliminary hearing for the O’Briens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, July 6.

Source: Janesville Gazette

More Russian children tortured in US

Sadly, another case of the abuse of Russian Orphans has come to light in the United States and has come to the attention of the Russian Foreign Ministry. According to child protective services workers and professionals with knowledge of the case the level of abuse amounted to what could be called torture and had been going on continuously since 2004.

This time the case revolves around a couple from the state of Wisconsin in the US, whose own children are reported to also have taken part in the abuse of the Russian adoptees. The couple, Martin and Kathleen O'Brien, had been considered to be ideal parents by neighbors, although some have reported that sometimes they noticed odd things. The mother, Kathleen, is even reported to have received an award from the State of Wisconsin for being an exemplary mother. Sadly this was all a farce.

The four Russian foster children, victims of abuse that had been going on for eight years, are now between the ages of 12 and 19 and have been taken from the O’Brian family and placed in protective custody. However their exact location was not revealed by the Department of Social and Child Protective Services.

The parents are facing 17 charges detailed in an 11 page complaint of abuse with the next hearing scheduled for July 6th.

The Russian Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights, Konstantin Dolgov said that the complaint includes charges that the children were regularly beaten, were victims of suffocation, and that the foster parents even used tear gas on them.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has called on the U.S. authorities to thoroughly investigate the case and to pass fair judgment, something which has clearly not been done in the past where even in recent history parents have gotten off with a slap on the wrist for charges including the murder of a Russian orphan.

The Foreign Ministry Commissioner of the Russian Federation for Human Rights, Konstantin Dolgov stated that Russia views this case with extreme indignation, as another case of infringement on the rights of minors in the U.S. and call for a thorough investigation to be completed, and the perpetrators to be brought to justice and face punishment commensurate with the gravity of their deeds.

The facts and the charges in the case are sickening and are coming in from various sources. According to the police report the O'Briens forced the children to kneel on sharp stones in a yard full of dog excrement and stay there for six or seven hours in the cold and even to stand naked in the cold for extended periods.

Investigators have also found a dairy belonging to the O'Brien woman which she had kept for many years and where she methodically and in detail described the punishments she subjugated the children to. Why she would keep such a diary is a cause for argument and can only be known to her but it points to the fact that she knew exactly what she was doing and continued to do it, these were not blind fits of rage. Was she proud of her horrible abuse? Did she get some sort of sadistic pleasure from humiliating and torturing these children and then go back and read about her deeds again and again?

Sadly for the children the US legal system was extremely slow in responding. Even in a country where they will take away children from their parents for the slightest offense it took over 9 months for charges to be brought against the O’Briens. According to the police the children complained about their treatment in August of 2011 but it was not until this May that the charges were brought. Was this because they were Russian?

In a country now used to such cases was this just more of the same for them? Did they believe the children were lying? If that is the case what redress do children have in the United States? What can we do to stop cases like this from happening? Or is it impossible?

In a country so steeped in violence: where children are accustomed to an endless torrent of violence on television, including the cartoons they watch and where over 400 murders are shown an hour, where people rejoice when other people are executed, where they openly joyfully call for the bombing and killing of the peoples of other countries if the government says there is a reason (no matter what it may be), where the people support and applaud a president engaged in the extra-judicial executions of (even American) citizens, where the violence and tension are so over-hyped and provoked by the police and the “authorities” who see themselves as engaged in a “war” against the citizenry, where everyone has a gun, where rampant racism and social injustice are the norm…. is there any hope for small defenseless children and will their cries be heard?

Source: Voice of Russia

Child-Care Worker Kills

June 6, 2012 permalink

The Stan Wadlow Clubhouse’s after-school recreation care program in East York is described by the City of Toronto as “safe, affordable child care for children ages six to 12”. Christopher Husbands was employed there for about six months until May 18. On June 2 Mr Husbands fired a gun in Toronto's Eaton Centre killing 24-year-old Ahmed Hassan and injuring seven others, including a 13-year-old boy who was shot in the head.



Eaton Centre shooting suspect worked at city-run after-school program

Christopher Husbands
Christopher Husbands arrives in court in Toronto on Monday.
CP/Chris Young

The man charged in Saturday’s shooting at the Eaton Centre was until recently a part-time city employee who worked with children in an after-school care program, a city official has confirmed.

Christopher Husbands, 23, worked at Stan Wadlow Clubhouse’s after-school recreation care program in East York up until two weeks before a man opened fire on a crowded Eaton Centre food court, killing one and injuring seven others, including a 13-year-old boy who was shot in the head.

Husbands, who turned himself in to police on Monday, worked for the centre’s after-school program — described by the City of Toronto as “safe, affordable child care for children ages six to 12” — for about six months until May 18.

At the time of the shooting, Husbands was out on $4,000 bail and under house arrest for an outstanding 2010 sex assault charge.

Hours after his son’s arrest on Monday, Burchell Husbands told the Star that his son began having brushes with the law in his mid-teens. The 23-year-old has faced numerous charges since moving out of his family’s Regent Park home on his 18th birthday, his father said.

City spokeswoman Jackie DeSouza refused to say whether the city was aware of Husbands’s criminal history when he was hired last November or why his employment ended on May 18, but “it’s obviously very troubling to all of us,” she said.

DeSouza said there are no legislated requirements within the city’s parks and recreation department that job applicants submit criminal reference checks before they begin work. Instead, city policy requires that applicants begin obtaining a police reference check when they begin their employment and results can take “up to three months,” she said.

After learning that a former childcare employee had been arrested in connection with the Eaton Centre shooting, DeSouza said the city plans to investigate and “do a comprehensive policy review.”

The City of Toronto also sent a memo to Stan Wadlow Clubhouse staff and parents on Tuesday, notifying them that a city review found no indication that child safety had been compromised.

Parents, children and staff at the centre have been offered access to counselling and support services, DeSouza said.

Source: Metro News

Stan Wadlow Clubhouse

Stan Wadlow Clubhouse offers a wide range of social, educational and support services to older adults in the community Monday to Friday 9:00am-3:00 pm. The After-school Recreational Care program runs ten months of the year from school dismissal until 6:00 pm. Permits can be booked for this facility to host social events. Offering arts programs for all ages such as watercolours, drawing & sketching, pottery, woodcarving, violin, piano, guitar, and drumming. Preschool programs include indoor soccer and pottery. Fitness programs offered are Tai Chi, Yoga, and Fitness. Summer day camp designed to give children a fun-filled, action-packed, safe summer.


Addendum: More detail on Husbands.



Accused mall shooter worked with kids

Suspected shooter worked with kids

TORONTO – Two weeks before he allegedly opened fire in the Eaton Centre, killing one and wounding six others, Christopher Husbands was a part-time City of Toronto employee working with kids in an after-school program.

Husbands — now facing one charge of first-degree murder and six charges of attempted murder in the wake of Saturday's shooting at the busy Toronto mall — had the city job working with youth despite being under house arrest for a 2010 sexual assault charge still before the courts and a 2008 drug conviction, QMI Agency has learned.

Husbands, 23, worked for the city from November 2011 to May 18, 2012, according to city officials.

Despite his criminal background, Husbands worked at the Stan Wadlow Clubhouse in East York in the after-school recreation care program, which offers a variety of activities including sports, outdoor play, special events, creative activities and homework help.

City spokesman Wynna Brown wouldn't say why Husbands' employment ended, whether he submitted a criminal record check or if the city was aware of his criminal history when he was hired.

She said as soon as Husbands' name became public as the alleged Eaton Centre shooter, the city notified parents.

"This situation is deeply troubling to us all," Brown stated in an e-mail. "We are offering staff, participants and their families access to counselling and support services."

Parents at the clubhouse were horrified by the news Husbands had been working in their kids' after-school program.

"We were shocked, totally shocked," said Ken Medwid who has four children in program. "They should have let me know about the sexual assault (charge). I have an 11-year-old daughter going there."

A letter handed out to parents Tuesday didn't explain why Husbands' employment ended or mention his sexual assault charge.

Medwid's wife, Julie Demers, was also stunned by the news and angry to learn someone out on bail and under house arrest was watching her daughter and her eight-year-old triplet sons.

"We recognized his name when we heard it in the news but we didn't put the two together," she said.

The kids had nicknamed Husbands "Chrissy."

When the couple told their daughter about Husbands' arrest, she said: “But he was such a nice man."

Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti, chair of the city's community development and recreation committee, was "furious" to learn Husbands had been working with kids in a city program.

"I'd hate to see how many others have been hired that have criminal records," Mammoliti said. "They're supposed to be taking care of our children."

Mammoliti said he'll be demanding staff do background checks on any employee working with kids who has yet to provide one.

"If I get any staff member refusing to change the policy, I'll ask for them to be dismissed," he said.

The city's parks and recreation division has a policy that requires staff working with vulnerable populations, including children, to obtain a police reference check.

When hired, staff have to sign a declaration form and apply to Toronto Police for a check. Police provide the results directly to the employee and can take up to three months to produce the document. If the reference check isn't provided to the city, the employee is terminated.

But Mammoliti said the city shouldn't let someone start on the job before the check is provided.

"Those parents need to know those children are fine with the city," he said.


Addendum: A survivor of this incident, Jessica Ghawi, a 24-year-old sports writer who used the pen name Jessica Redfield, was the first person named as killed in the shooting in Aurora Colorado on July 19, 2012 by James Eagan Holmes.

Partial Apology

June 6, 2012 permalink

In February four-year-old Nevaeh Sansone drew a picture that teachers said looked like a gun. Police arrested father Jessie Sansone and strip-searched him. They also searched his home. Children's aid insisted on interviewing his other children in a quest for abuse.

Now the police department has apologized for the strip search. So far there is no apology from the school or children's aid.



Police apologize to crayon gun dad

Jessie Sansone with Nevaeh
Jessie Sansone, 26, holds his four-year-old daughter Nevaeh in this undated photo. Sansone is upset because he was arrested Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012.
QMI Agency/Submitted/Sansone family

OTTAWA - Four months after arresting and strip-searching a man because his four-year-old daughter drew a picture of him shooting monsters and bad guys, police in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., have apologized to the young family.

In their internal review of 26-year-old Jessie Sansone's arrest, Waterloo Regional Police said they did everything right — except their method of search.

“The results of this review have determined that Waterloo Regional Police officers acted in accordance with the law by arresting Mr. Sansone and made every effort to preserve his dignity and the safety of this community,” said Chief Matt Torigian.

“However, the review also found that due to a miscommunication in the processing of Mr. Sansone, he was subjected to a Thorough Search instead of a less intrusive Frisk Search— an oversight which we regret.”

Torigan said he and Deputy Chief Thomlison met with, and personally apologized to, Sansone for the impact his arrest had on his family.

Sansone, however, said sorry's not enough.

“I am a forgiving person, but this isn't just about me. It's not just my own family. This was a whole system that crashed down on us, and it was all because of a four-year-old's drawing,” he said. “They could have just talked with me instead. This can't be allowed to happen to my neighbour, to another family.”

In February, the father of four was met at his children's school by police officers, who arrested him for possession of a firearm.

He was taken to the station in handcuffs and strip-searched while his home was searched and his pregnant wife was questioned. His children were picked up at the school by social workers and taken across town for questioning.

Cops stripped Sansone naked and had him lift his testicles so officers could see under them, turn around, and bend over.

All of this started when his daughter Nevaeh, in junior kindergarten, drew a picture of her dad shooting bad guys on a classroom white board.

The ensuing conversation between the teacher and the tot lead the teacher to believe there was a handgun within reach of the children at home.

The school called family services who, in turn, called police.

Police found nothing in the home other than an empty plastic gun sold at Canadian Tire for $16. The toy was meant to propel peppercorn-sized plastic beads — something the family never had in the house.

“Although not crucial at the time of the arrest, the Air Soft Pistol that was located has the capability to fire a projectile at approximately 180 feet per second and if pointed at someone may constitute a criminal offence and could most certainly cause injury if used carelessly,” reads the police report.

Neither the school nor family services have apologized. The school board maintained it had the children's welfare in mind because school officials “co-parent” students.

The family is trying to retain a lawyer.

Sansone will speak with Michael Coren on Sun News Network on Thursday in his first TV interview since his arrest.

Source: London Free Press

An opinion piece on the non-apologetic apology.



Family victimized by over-reacting officials

In the "stop digging when you're in a deep hole" department, four months after detaining, arresting and strip-searching a young father, Ontario's Waterloo Regional Police have said sorry ... sort of.

Twenty-six-year old Jesse Sansone was collared in February at his four year-old daughter's school when the junior kindergartener drew a picture of her dad "shooting monsters and bad men".

The drawing was enough to panic a weak-minded teacher into scaring a gullible principal who caused fright among reactionary child welfare officials, who then called in the cops.

The drawing was apparently made on an erasable white board and was seen only by the teacher before it was somehow conveniently erased.

This was odd, given the significant evidential value of a picture so obviously terrifying that normally rational adults decided to grab Sansone, have child welfare staff scoop up his children into temporary foster care and sit his frightened wife down for questioning by the police.

As Sansone arrived at his little girl's school to pick her up, he was met by officers who handcuffed him, perp walked him out the front door past startled staff and students, bundled him into a squad car and arrested him on suspicion of possessing a firearm.

Hours later - after spending an entire afternoon searching the young family's home, as Sansone sat in police cells terrified for his family - police found a gun. It was a $16 toy, plastic gun from Canadian Tire.

In apologizing this week, police did not actually say sorry for most of what they did; in fact Chief Matt Torigian pointed out that they "acted in accordance with the law".

It was only when Sansone was given the full Monty naked, bend-over strip search that this was chalked up to a "miscommunication". Apparently, he was supposed to be only frisked with his clothes on and not rubber gloved.

It was hardly an apology for an appalling misuse of discretion, poor judgment and an overreaction by police officers.

But it must have pained the police - apologizing as they did through gritted teeth - to know that their internal report on the incident actually concluded that the plastic toy gun "had the capability to fire a projectile at approximately 180 feet per second and if pointed at someone may constitute a criminal offence and could most certainly cause injury if used carelessly."

Based on this, the entire Sansone family had best consider itself lucky that they weren't all locked up - especially any of their kids for pointing that plastic gun at one another.

As anemic as it was, at least the police pretended to apologize which is more than can be said for both the school and family and child services who played a role in this theatre of the absurd.

Social workers and school officials adamantly maintain that they are not apologizing. The school board stands by its memorable statement that it acted properly because school officials "co-parent" students.

And Alison Scott, senior bureaucrat for family and child services for the region, says "we followed proper standards and procedures and I do not see any need for our agency to apologize for fulfilling our mandated responsibility."

Scott doesn't seem to concern herself with the complete and utter lack of any evidence of wrongdoing in this case. Apparently, the mere mention in passing of a gun in a house is enough to trigger the seizure of children and the full weight of officialdom on the head of a dad like Jesse Sansone.

The dilemma for parents and families everywhere is what can happen when three different agencies form a toxic combination of institutional stupidity that offends both rudimentary common sense and decency.

Based on this united front of hubris and denial, if the same situation arose again today, the school, government social workers and police would do exactly the same thing all over again and some parent would be handcuffed and hauled off to jail. But, at least in Waterloo, Ontario, they can take solace that this time the police might not do a strip search.

The Sansone family deserves an apology, not some half-hearted attempt at bureaucratic butt-covering.

Gormley is a talk-show host, lawyer, author and former Progressive Conservative MP. He can be heard Monday to Friday 8: 30 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m. on NewsTalk 980 CJME.

Source: Regina Leader-Post

CAS Impostor

June 6, 2012 permalink

A woman posing as a CAS worker entered the home of a CAS client, stripped a child, examined the child and left, saying that the regular caseworker would follow up. CAS says the woman was not one of their staffers. Maybe she was a fake, or maybe CAS lost track of one of its own.



Woman poses as CAS worker, removes child’s clothes

Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society
The sign at the Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society building in Windsor, Ont. is shown in this 2004 file photo.
Tim Fraser / The Windsor Star

Amherstburg police are trying to track down a woman who visited a home posing as a Children’s Aid worker and removed a child’s clothes for a so-called inspection.

Police said the woman went to a home in the Amherstburg area on April 10 requesting to check on the well being of a child. She said she was an after-hours emergency case worker with the Children’s Aid Society, investigating a complaint that the parent had burned her child.

The woman took the child’s clothes off. After “inspecting” the child, the woman told the mother she would be contacted by her regular case worker as a follow up.

The parent called CAS when she didn’t hear from her regular caseworker after several days. The Children’s Aid Society checked their records and canvassed all their staff, but couldn’t find the person who did the visit.

The woman is about 30-years-old with a medium build and long black hair. She had what appeared to be CAS credentials.

Anyone with information can call Amherstburg police at 519-736-8559 and ask for Det. Const. Aaron Chambers.

Source: Windsor Star

Addendum: More details the next day.



Police search for CAS imposter

Child stripped during bogus inspection

Amherstburg police are trying to track down a woman who posed as a Children's Aid worker to gain access to a family's home, then stripped down their infant for an inspection.

Police said the imposter talked her way into the family's home by claiming CAS received a complaint that a parent had burned her child.

CAS executive director Bill Bevan said Wednesday his organization never received any complaint about a parent burning the child, something they've already told the mother involved.

"Whoever it was made a story up in order to gain access to the person's home," said Bevin. "That's what it appears like based on what the individual is saying. We have told her there was no complaint of that nature and we didn't send a worker out. It appears to be clearly an imposter and that's certainly worrisome."

Police said the woman went to a home in the Amherstburg area on April 10 requesting to check on the well-being of a child. She said she was an afterhours emergency case worker with the CAS, investigating a complaint that the parent had burned her child. Det. Const. Aaron Chambers wouldn't reveal the gender, but said the child was less than a year old.

The woman took the child's clothes off. After "inspecting" the infant, the woman told the mother she would be contacted by her regular caseworker as a followup.

The parent called CAS when she didn't hear from her regular caseworker after several days. The Children's Aid Society checked their records and canvassed all their staff, but couldn't find the person who did the visit.

"We have no record of this particular call, there is no record of any individual having gone out and there's no one that fits the description," said Bevin.

Chambers said the woman didn't inappropriately touch the child, but what she did is still disturbing.

"I think it would be concerning to everybody," said Chambers.

Bevin agreed. "If clothes were taken off a child, this would be a chargeable offence," said Bevin. "That's why we've worked cooperatively with the police."

The woman is about 30 years old with a medium build and long black hair. She had what appeared to be a lanyard issued by CAS to identify staff and caseworkers. Bevin said if the woman had CAS credentials, they were likely forged.

He stressed that people have the right to ask CAS workers for proper identification.

"The public should be comfortable in knowing they are indeed talking to one of our workers," he said. "That's the key thing here, I think. People are more than welcome to double check and call in about the worker if they're not certain who they are seeing."

Chambers said police are investigating if the woman had knowledge about the family and its CAS ties. If the woman did have inside information, police want to know how. He said the women hadn't met before the home visit.

Bevin said the family is involved with CAS. But he said he didn't know if the imposter had knowledge of that, or whether the person randomly knocked on a door.

Source: Windsor Star

Exterminate Parents

June 6, 2012 permalink

Britain reduced an immigrant family to single motherhood by deporting the father, Matarr John. Then they took the children on the pretext that they were not attending school. Then the UK Home Office ordered mother Amie Faye out of the country. Back in the Gambia she is pleading for reunification.



Gambia: Mother Accuses UK Authorities of Abducting Her Children

A Gambian mother who lived in the United Kingdom (UK) for nine years has exposed what she described as the indiscriminate abduction of her children by that country's local authorities in July 2007. Amie Faye, 44 said the UK authorities abducted her two children -Ramatulie and Ebrima John, claiming that she did not take them to school.

Narrating her ordeal to this paper on Friday, Faye revealed that her daughter, Ramatoulie John was earlier raped by one of her schoolmates in a school called Lilington Pre-school in 2005 and when she lodged a complaint to the school authorities, they turned it down and accused one black boy of being responsible for the rape.

She said she tried all she could to ensure that something is done over the issue, but both the school and the local authorities turned a deaf ear to her complaint. "Since nothing was done and I was scared of my children's safety at school, I decided to keep them at home and not to go to school," she said.

She said before incident, her ex-husband, one Matarr John, who took her to England, had already been deported to The Gambia by the UK authorities for reasons she still did not know.

According to Faye, a year after the incident, the UK authorities came to her house and took away the two children, saying that she did not take them to school. She said she was later summoned to court and charged for not taking her children to school. "During the court sittings, the authorities described me of having gone mentally imbalanced with no proven evidence," she stated, with tears running down her cheeks.

She said the court finally ruled that the two children be taken under foster care and she denied signing the document. "They then used force and took my two little children from me in July 2007," She added.

According to her, the court made an arrangement for her to be meeting her children once a week at a place called the family centre. Faye stated that immediately after the court ruling, the UK Home Office wrote to her in September 2008 ordering her to leave the country.

"Honestly, with all these struggles, I have relatives in the UK who can help me but none of them was ready to give me assistance," she said, adding that she later moved to her father's house in London, where she spent nearly a year but she was never helped to see her two children.

She said her father was given the opportunity to communicate with the two children but she was denied that privilege. "When I challenged this move, the authorities told me that they were not given the mandate to allow me access to my own children. She said the UK authorities are dragging the matter for the children to turn 16 years when she will not have access or any right over them again.

Faye said after undergoing all the struggles and humiliation, she decided to come back to The Gambia with an emergency passport but she was denied travel and her father later bought a flight ticket for her and she came back to The Gambia in 2009.

She explained that while in the country, she joined her ex-husband Matarr John to lodge a complaint to the Gambian authorities . She said they have lodged the complaint to the Department of Social Welfare, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

In January 2011, Faye continued, the Department of Social Welfare responded that they have tried to negotiate the matter with the UK authorities but they were unable to establish anything. "They promised that they will write to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the matter to be taken through a diplomatic channel, but this still did not work," she explained.

According to her, she later came to notice that the Social Welfare Department was communicating with her children, saying she was able to establish that fact when she once found one of the Social Welfare officers communicating with the children.

While expressing deep concern and need for her to be reconciled with her biological children, Faye used the opportunity to appeal to Gambia authorities to help her get back her children. "I am a Muslim and I want my children to be practicing their religion," she said.

Source: All Africa

Reasons for Rallies

June 5, 2012 permalink

There is a rally scheduled for Owen Sound this Friday, June 8. Canada Court Watch has a video announcing the reasons for this and other rallies on YouTube and our local copy (mp4).

There will also be rallies on Wednesday in Niagara Falls and on Thursday in Little Current (Manitoulin Island).


June 5, 2012 permalink

The new Highland Shores children's aid, formed only on April 1, is already playing the deficit game with the province of Ontario. Its predecessor Hastings CAS regularly overspent its budget, then waited for the province to cover the deficit. [1] [2].



New CAS wrestles with double deficits

EMC News -Belleville -The new Highland Shores Children's Aid agency, an amalgamation of the former Northumberland and Hastings County branches, is preparing for its first annual general meeting and an election of a single chair. That meeting is set for June 14.

In the meanwhile, the board continues to function under joint chairmanship of Karen Kennedy and Darcey French. Election of a single chair will be done at the annual meeting.

The board's meeting Wednesday evening also reviewed finances. From a combined budget of about $30 million, finance director Mark Stevens reported deficits from both branches totalling about $227,000. In both cases, the deficits would be covered if the ministry involved recognizes normal funding on which the budgets were based.

"We are in negotiations with the ministry and we expect these will be resolved," he said. Otherwise, the year-end figures for both agencies came out almost exactly on the mark for budgets set and approved at the start of the fiscal year.

"You get no reward for being accurate," he quipped.

Stevens also commented on hopes for financial savings from the amalgamation and said administration costs have already been pared back by reducing senior staff and more savings will be seen in future. Those savings only impact the provincial budget as there is no levy for the CAS to participating municipalities. But he also stressed that while the savings are beneficial, the key reason such amalgamations were encouraged was to assure an equal level of services to the children and families involved.

For example, the much larger budget of the Hastings County CAS allowed staff resources that small units like Northumberland and Prince Edward County could not afford, he said.

Executive Director Mark Kartusch reported on continuing efforts at uniting the functions of the two agencies, including negotiations for a single union. A vote on that will be held in June, he said.

He also outlined a new "family group counselling" program which, he said, has already shown some positive results in some particularly troubled families.

He enthused about progress toward a province-wide data bank, starting with data amalgamations between the two local boards.

The next regular meeting of the board is June 27 at Cobourg.

Source: Belleville EMC


Adoption Subsidy

June 4, 2012 permalink

Ontario will be subsidizing families who adopt with $11,400 per year. Do not be fooled by the upbeat language in the article. The province is paying to get rid of its undesirable wards. These adoptions are unlikely to produce the favorable outcomes mentioned in the article. Well-adjusted young adults come from parents (or adoptive parents) who love their children. They don't come from parents-for-pay.



Ontario will subsidize adoption of kids over 10

Ontarians who adopt or assume legal custody of Crown wards over age 10, or sibling groups of any age, are now eligible for on-going financial support from Queen’s Park.

Starting June 15, adoptive parents with net family incomes below $85,000 will receive $950 per child, per month — or $11,400 annually.

That is about 60 per cent of the average cost Children’s Aid Societies pay foster parents in Ontario.

Monday’s announcement by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services is a confirmation of last September’s original pledge to launch a provincial adoption subsidy program.

It was thrilling news for a London, Ont., couple who are in the process of adopting three siblings under age 5 and were wondering how they were going to afford their care.

“It is just wonderful to hear that our government is supporting us and other families who have chosen to stay in Ontario to adopt and not go international,” said the mom, a part-time nurse who can’t be named to protect the children. “To know we will have that financial stability is amazing.”

The goal is to help more children in foster care find permanent homes and addresses the challenges Children’s Aid Societies face when placing older children and siblings, a government spokesperson said.

Research shows that children and youth in permanent homes are more likely to graduate from high school, hold a job and contribute to their communities.

Adoption subsidies were one of the key recommendations of the province’s Expert Panel on Infertility and Adoption, which in 2009 recommended adoption subsidies for all children over age 2 and for those under 2 with special needs.

Many of the province’s Children’s Aid Societies already provide subsidies for children with special needs, but until now it has been a patchwork quilt, said Virginia Rowden of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, which represents the province’s 53 CASs.

Agencies are pleased the new program sets a specific amount that will be available to all adoptive families across the province with no spending cap, she said. And they are happy local agencies will continue to be able to offer their own subsidies or provide top-ups.

“For people who are contemplating adopting, they know up-front what is available. And it is on-going as long as the families continue to qualify,” Rowden said.

“Overall it’s a better investment than continuing to pay foster care because it provides better outcomes at a better cost,” she added.

There are about 8,300 Crown wards in Ontario. Of the 1,000 children adopted through Children’s Aid last year, 73 per cent were under age 5, just one-quarter were between the ages of 6 and 11, and only 2 per cent were over age 12.

Source: Toronto Star

Chatham Experience

June 4, 2012 permalink

Mother Celeste Shantel Andros summarizes her experience with Chatham-Kent CAS.



baby Andros

Celeste Shantel Andros My little girl in my profile pic was taken away in Chatham and I have gone through so much with these demonic CAS pigs. I can now never see my baby again. I'm a Christian and because of my belief they used it all against me. I'm so sick of these CAS workers taking away innocent children from good homes and families. Very soon the CAS will pay because we still have a judge above the courts and that is God almighty and he says it would be better that a giant millstone be tied around your neck and you be thrown in the ocean than offend or hurt a little one. Their doomsday is coming. I'm not afraid to say the CAS workers name I have nothing to lose any more. Jennifer Loveless and what a suiting name it is. My baby girl is now two on the 22nd of may and I have never spent a birthday or Christmas with her. The CAS will be brought down its just a matter of time. God is angry and the CAS will be punished they are dogs from hell!!!

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Court Delays Cost Families

June 3, 2012 permalink

Since the Los Angeles family courts were opened to the press reporters can follow real cases. An opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times shows the devastating effect of court delays on families, and in this case, on foster parents.



Newton: What dependency court delays do

When appearances drag on, it's not the judges or the lawyers but the families that pay.

Michael Nash
Michael Nash is the presiding judge of the Juvenile Court in Los Angeles County.
Los Angeles Times / June 1, 2012

In the weeks since Juvenile Court Presiding Judge Michael Nash opened this county's dependency proceedings to the press, there have been a number of revelations about a system that, until now, has been largely shielded from scrutiny. For the first time, the public is getting a broad look at the consequences of sloppy social work, the defensiveness of lawyers used to operating in secret, the agonizing decisions of judges, even the occasional happy outcome in which a family, once torn apart, is successfully reunited.

But one overarching fact of the dependency courts, where judges supervise the lives of children in foster care, is the high and hidden cost of delay. Some cases drag on for months, even years, while children lose their chance to begin their lives in secure, safe families.

Over the last two months, I have watched one such case drag on. Judge Tim Saito presided as birth parents challenged foster parents for custody of a 2-year-old girl taken from her birth parents when she was just a few days old because they had a previous record of abuse.

The girl was placed with a caring and quiet couple (I'm not naming them here because doing so might identify the little girl). Indeed, the decency of these foster parents is about the only uncontested fact in the case. They decided to build their family by coming to the aid of children who needed a home; just over two years ago, the county delivered them an infant girl.

The girl's birth parents, however, were unwilling to let go so easily. Though they had been forced to give up their other children after the county accused them of abuse — one infant girl suffered a broken femur, allegedly at her father's hand — they appealed for the return of their baby.

A judge could have heard evidence and decided the matter then; instead, the case kicked around the courts for more than a year, as the birth parents underwent counseling and dismissed lawyer after lawyer, each time forcing delays. Early this year, the county formally recommended that efforts at reunification be ended and that the foster parents be given custody.

Even then, the case dragged on. Time after time, the foster parents would be asked by Saito to appear in court. The foster father would miss a day of work — and, with it, wages. And then the day would slip away with barely any progress. One of the days I attended, Saito had asked the parties to be ready at 1:45 p.m. He didn't actually call the case until 3:55 p.m. Once inside the courtroom, the birth father again asked for a new lawyer, so the judge had to hear that matter. Ruling against that request this time, Saito resumed the trial. It lasted 20 minutes before Saito called it a day.

One afternoon, it looked as though a lot might get done. The parties were told their case would be up early because a social worker had been pulled off her job to testify. Nope. More than two hours passed without word. The social worker, who had recently undergone back surgery, squirmed uncomfortably in the waiting area.

Speaking with me, the foster parents did not criticize Saito, but their frustration with the process almost visibly tears at them. Interrupted testimony and repeated court appearances don't harm the lawyers or social workers, the father noted; they're paid to be there. "They don't have any problem continuing," he grimly told me one afternoon while the case was yet again on hold. "They don't have any problem delaying."

But it has harmed his family in myriad ways. It costs money: The foster parents estimate they have spent the equivalent of a year's worth of college tuition on legal bills. It has cost time: They have spent more than 20 days in court since the beginning of this year alone. Most heartbreakingly, it has added another element of stress in the young life of their foster daughter. While the case has been underway, the birth parents have had visitation rights; the girl is now at an age when it's threatening to become confusing to have another set of parents to call "Mommy" and "Daddy." She could have been nestled in a loving and secure foster family months ago. Instead, she faces conflict.

Last month, Saito finally concluded that efforts at reunification should cease and that the girl should remain with the foster parents. But the birth parents are still pressing, and are allowed visits while they're appealing.

Deborah Dentler is the lawyer for the foster parents, and she's exasperated by the ordeal her clients have endured. Dentler doesn't want to discourage potential foster parents from signing up, but she's worried about a system that effectively punishes those who do. Indeed, her hope is that the press coverage allowed by Nash's order opening the courts will encourage judges and others in the system to be more mindful of those whose lives are at stake.

As Dentler noted, "Justice delayed is justice denied to families and children." In dependency court, that injustice has been inflicted all too commonly, without any accountability for those responsible.

Jim Newton’s column appears Mondays. His latest book is "Eisenhower: The White House Years." Reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @newton_jim.

Source: Los Angeles Times

People Unite Against Police Brutality

June 3, 2012 permalink

There was a rally today in Niagara Falls by a group called People Unite Against Police Brutality. It was not a rally for accountability of CAS, but related. A video gives some of the problems sparking the event. YouTube and local copy (mp4). An article in the Niagara Falls Review announced the event three days ago:



Police protest aims to raise awareness

Member of PUAPB

A peaceful protest against police brutality is planned for Sunday in front of the Niagara Regional Police detachment on Morrison St.

“This protest is not anti-police or anti-establishment. It’s about police officers who abuse their power and we want to make sure they are held accountable,” said event organizer Harley Davidson, 21, of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The demonstration will take place between noon and 4 p.m. Participants are being encouraged to bring cameras to protest an incident at the Kool Katts bar between a man who was taking photos and some NRP officers.

The incident, which is being investigated by the Special Investigations Unit, took place inside the Caribbean restaurant and bar on Drummond Rd., at about 1:15 a.m. on May 19.

To date no officers have been charged.

A Facebook page called People Unite Against Police Brutality was launched after the incident. It already has more than 6,500 members.

“I was surprised to see that many people sign on and to hear of so many other cases. When people have that much power and they don’t have any fear of what’s going to happen to them, that’s pretty scary.”

Davidson, who witnessed some of the events at Kool Katts between police and a customer, has already been interviewed by SIU investigators.

“We want legitimately concerned people to come out and not just people who want to slag the authority. We need to be able to trust the police when we call them. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions because of what they might do to you.”

Participants are being asked to bring cameras as a reminder to police citizens have a right to take photos of public servants while they are doing their jobs.

“Our main goal is to raise awareness about this,” said Davidson.

More than 100 T-shirts have been sold, but it’s not known how many people might show up for Sunday’s demonstration.

NRP acting Insp. Mike Woods said police are aware of the demonstration, but have not been contacted by the organizers.

“We respect the right of people to have a peaceful protest, and we don’t have any concerns about that, long as everyone is being peaceful and is obeying the law,” said Woods.

Police don’t plan to take any special measures, but depending on the number of people who show up, they might need someone outside to keep an eye on traffic.

“At this point, we’re not anticipating any issues and we respect their right to protest. The matter in question is being investigated by the Special Investigations Unit, but from what I understand their protest is in relation to the bigger picture,” said Woods.

Source: Niagara Falls Review

The same publication covered the actual rally:



Police protesters: ‘We’re here watching’


Harley Davidson says all his awareness group wants is accountability.

The 21-year-old Niagara-on-the-Lake man led a protest Sunday afternoon in front of the Niagara Falls detachment of the Niagara Regional Police.

The message to police was that people are watching if they cross the line.

“Our chant is ‘we’re here, we’re watching and we won’t stand silent’,” he said.

Davidson was at Kool Katts bar in the early hours of May 19 when an incident happened between police and a man taking pictures.

The province’s Special Investigations Unit issued a press release a few days later saying it was looking into the confrontation.

To date, no charges have been laid against police.

Monica Hudon, the SIU’s communications co-ordinator, said at the time that while NRP were arresting a man, “there was an interaction and he sustained injuries that included a broken nose, a fractured orbital bone and a fractured cheekbone.”

While the SIU investigation continues, Sunday’s protest was a way to show support for the person who was injured during the incident, Davidson said.

“He won’t be attending because his lawyer is advising him to keep back,” he said.

Davidson posted photographs online of blood on the ground in the restaurant that he says is the result of the May 19 confrontation. That led to the formation of People Unite Against Police Brutality, a Facebook group that has picked up more than 6,500 members in two weeks.

Sunday’s four-hour protest stayed peaceful with a few dozen people standing on the sidewalk across from the Morrison St. police detachment with signs.

At times, the group chanted and cheered as cars driving past honked their horns.

“This isn’t saying all police are bad,” Davidson said. “I fully recognize that a lot of them are doing their job, but somebody being beaten one time is too much.

“We’re raising awareness. The more people that see this, the more people that potentially can join our group,” he said.

Inside the detachment, NRP Staff Sgt. Brian Ash said he was monitoring the protest.

“We’ll respond appropriately to their behaviour,” he said. “What we’ve seen so far is it’s a small group and everything has been peaceful.”

Source: Niagara Falls Review

Results from the rally are on YouTube with a local copy (mp4). Here are photos: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7].

NRP not UFC: Niagara Regional Police, not Ultimate Fighting Champion.

Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook

Laws Don't Apply to Social Work

June 2, 2012 permalink

Last week Christopher Booker reported that the baby daughter of Joe Ollis and Marie Black was sent back to France after British social workers took her from France to England without legal basis. Not so fast. A court ordered the girl sent back to France, but British social workers have ignored the order and are keeping her in England. In another case, a mother fled to Spain to give birth and social workers cannot retrieve the baby girl because they do not know the mother's Spanish address. In an effort to find it they ransacked the homes of three family members in Britain and are threatening to seize the missing girl's cousin if they cannot find the girl they want.



A baby is still held in Norfolk, despite judge’s orders

The High Court has ruled that a child abducted by UK social workers must be returned to France.

mother and child ripped apart
UK social workers have taken to snatching children abroad who have never even lived here
Photo: ALAMY

Last week, I reported two examples of how determined our social workers can be in tracking down families that have fled overseas, to seize their children born abroad and bring them back to Britain.

The first of these concerned the baby daughter, born three months ago to Marie and Joe who, when Marie became pregnant last year, went off to live with his mother in France. Thanks to Freedom of Information requests, we now know that Norfolk social workers spent nearly £6,000 on air fares, nearly £2,000 on hotel bills, £750 on car hire, and another £9,661 on French lawyers, to bring the baby back to Norfolk. They claimed they were entitled to do so because the child was “habitually resident” in England even though it had never lived here.

This argument was accepted by a Norwich judge. But two weeks ago, in the High Court, Mr Justice Bodey ruled that, under EU law, the British courts had no jurisdiction over the child. He ordered that, by last Friday, the baby should be handed over to the French authorities, who were also expected to comply with certain conditions.

It turns out that the French social workers, who have been involved in the case since the child was born, see no reason for their further involvement. They know Joe and Marie well, have no concerns about them, and cannot see why the baby should not simply be given directly back to its parents. They also cannot understand why they should obey the orders of a British court which admits it has no jurisdiction. But the result is that, contrary to the judge’s ruling, and to the parents’ utter dismay, the child is still being held by the Norfolk social workers.

There have also been developments in the other case, involving a couple who escaped to Spain for the birth of their daughter.

Last week I described how, in an attempt to track them down, a senior Welsh social worker led six policemen to the homes, in turn, of the mother’s mother, and her father (the grandparents are divorced) and her sister. Each was threatened with imprisonment unless they revealed the mother’s whereabouts. The grandmother was arrested and held in custody for 14 hours. The grandfather was also held in custody (though he didn’t even know that his daughter had gone abroad), and, on the orders of the social worker, the police searched each of the three homes from top to bottom, confiscating laptops, mobile phones and a camera, which they said would be returned in a month.

Now, I am told, the same social worker has told the mother’s sister that her 10-year-old daughter could be taken into care. The social worker approached the girl’s school, where a robust head teacher apparently said that he knew the family well. He and his staff had no concerns over the girl, one of their star pupils, and could see no reason for any intervention by social services. So this unhappy drama continues.

Again the question arises, as in many other cases I have followed: why did those policemen seem so willing to obey the orders of a social worker, when there appear to be no good reasons for the state to be involved in the lives of this family at all?

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Wait a Century

June 2, 2012 permalink

Ontario's chief coroner Dr Andrew McCallum has sampled 5000 death records and has found over 100 possible cases of previously unidentified child and youth deaths linked to Indian residential schools. At the same rate, scrutinizing the entire record could find 50 times as many previously unknown aboriginal child deaths between the mid nineteenth century and the mid twentieth century.

There will be no inquests into the hundred or so children who die annually with open CAS cases in the twenty first century. In Ontario it is necessary to wait a century to have a death in provincial custody examined by the coroner.



Indian residential school deaths found by Ontario coroner

Scrutiny of 5,000 death records dating back to 19th century finds 120 possibly 'missing' children

An intensive review of Ontario records has so far turned up more than 100 possible cases of previously unidentified child and youth deaths linked to Indian residential schools, the province's chief coroner said Thursday.

Andrew McCallum
The office of Ontario's chief coroner, Dr. Andrew McCallum, searched records dating back to the 19th century and found about 120 possible cases of previously unidentified child and youth deaths linked to the Indian residential school system.
Colin Perkel/Canadian Press

The information was gleaned from close scrutiny of about 5,000 death records selected from an initial screening of 250,000 records going back to the 19th century.

"It's staggering to think that families would not have known what happened to a child that was sent off to the residential schools," Chief Coroner Dr. Andrew McCallum told The Canadian Press.

"There was a huge vacuum of information. What was fed back to the immediate family was highly inconsistent."

At the beginning of the year, Ontario's coroner's office began trying to identify missing and dead children from the residential schools at the request of the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Among other things, the commission's "Missing Children Project" has been trying to come to grips with the large number of aboriginal children who died or went missing while in the care of the scores of government-funded, church-run residential schools, the last of which shut down in the 1990s.

In all, about 150,000 aboriginal children were forced to leave their communities for the schools in an effort to assimilate them into mainstream Canadian society. By some estimates -- especially prior to the 1940s -- mortality rates reached 50 per cent.

Although some deaths were suicides, most fatalities were due either to disease or occurred after the children ran away from the schools, then had accidents, hypothermia or drowned.

"They were terribly unhappy and they left," McCallum said.

"They succumbed to various things that happen to children who are on their own in harsh environments."

Inquest announced for Thunder Bay deaths

McCallum, who noted the residential school deaths still resonate, also announced a joint inquest into the deaths of seven aboriginal students in Thunder Bay, Ont., between 2000 and 2011.

The seven -- aged 15 to 21 -- died after leaving their home communities to pursue secondary education in Thunder Bay.

The joint inquest was called after consultation with Nishnawbe Aski Nation due to the similar circumstances which surrounded the deaths, McCallum said.

The Ontario review has so far turned up 120 possibly "missing" children, although cross-referencing with commission information still needs to take place to confirm that, said Dr. David Eden, who led the records search on behalf of the coroner's office.

Eden called the overall mortality numbers linked to the schools "scary" and said the entire system beggared belief.

"I can't understand why this was done and how it was done," Eden said in an interview.

"I can understand the need for both First Nations and the larger population of Ontario and Canada to acknowledge that it happened and we should do everything we can to tell the affected families what happened to their child."

The records search -- aimed at complementing information already in possession of the commission -- has been a painstaking process, particularly for those from before 1965 now kept in the Archives of Ontario.

In addition, records related to the Indian residential schools were often poorly maintained.

McCallum said his office would share its approach with other chief coroners and medical examiners next week at a conference in Quebec City in hopes of helping their searches.

Despite the difficulties, McCallum said it was essential to dig up the information.

"It's really important for there to be a truthful, as much as possible, disclosure to those who were involved as to what happened," he said.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was set up in 2007 as part of the federal government's apology for the residential school system.

Source: CBC

Hospital Rally

June 1, 2012 permalink

There will be an emergency rally Monday in Chatham, starting at 9am at the courthouse and going to the Chatham-Kent hospital by 10am. The cause is excessive baby-snatching at the hospital.



EMERGENCY RALLY****** This monday 9am...till 10 am at the court house...walking to the CK Hospital. New mothers and babies use to be welcomed by the WELCOME WAGON, lately they are torn appart by the CA$ abduction service. WE NEED AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE.

Source: Facebook

Lee Bolton Anyone that's available Monday morning for an hour or 2 please please inbox me, Darlene or Trish. We need as many bodies and sign holders as possible at the court house at 9 am until 10 then at the Chatham hospital from 10 until 11 or so. Too many babies apprehended from Chatham in the last 2-4 weeks.

Lee Bolton Another newborn this week. Meeting with the family tomorrow.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Chatham Ontario courthouse

Assemble at the courthouse, then proceed to the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance 800 meters northeast on Grand Avenue.


The Chatham Rally was held June 06, 2012 to bring Oversight & Accountability of the Children's Aid Society and the Ontario Court System. And also to raise awareness of Ontario being the only province in Canada that does not allow oversight of Children's Aid Societies, Hospitals, Long-term Care Homes, Retirement Homes, School Boards, Universities and Police by the Ombudsman.

Source: YouTube

Our local copy of the video (mp4). The rally proceeded from the CAS office to the courthouse.

Sarnia Rally

June 1, 2012 permalink

Canadians for Family Law Reform conducted a rally yesterday outside Sarnia City Hall.



Protest at Sarnia City Hall

CFLR at Sarnia City Hall

The Canadians for Family Law Reform group is again protesting today, they’re pushing for changes to divorce proceedings in the national court system.

Over a dozen members are picketing outside of Sarnia City Hall.

Group Co-founder Jim Canie says they usually protest at the courthouse, but the busy Christina and George St. intersection gives them more exposure.

Canie says they’ve noticed subtle changes to the system since they began protesting.

He’s still expresses concern over the treatment of those representing themselves in court.

Source: CHOK

Escape from Services

June 1, 2012 permalink

A Massachusetts teenager knows what family services are worth. While being taken to court on a Department of Children and Families "child in need of services" warrant he escaped and fled.



Police: Teen bolts from courthouse

SALEM — A teenager being taken to Salem Juvenile Court for a hearing on whether he is a child in need of court supervision made a run for it yesterday morning as he was being let out of a vehicle outside the courthouse, police said.

The 16-year-old boy made it just two blocks before Salem police found him near the corner of Essex and Crombie streets just before 9 a.m.

Salem police Lt. Matthew Desmond said the boy, who was not handcuffed or shackled when he ran away, was being taken to court by the Department of Children and Families on a "child in need of services" warrant.

Such noncriminal warrants are typically issued for children and teenagers who are having behavioral issues but who are not necessarily charged with any crime.

As the boy fled, a passer-by saw the direction he headed and told Patrolman Gil Priddy, who was working a paid detail for a gas company crew a few yards from the courthouse on Federal Street. Priddy alerted his fellow officers, and less than 10 minutes after the teen fled, Capt. Thomas Griffin and Patrolman Barry Driscoll spotted him on Essex Street, Desmond said.

The teen was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge because of the chaos created during the search for him, Desmond said.

He was expected to be arraigned yesterday afternoon in Salem Juvenile Court, but those proceedings and their outcome are closed to the public.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis may be reached at 978-338-2521 or

Source: Salem News (Massachusetts)

running away

Forever Penniless

June 1, 2012 permalink

An Alaska couple found a unique way to profit from adoption. After Edward Drones and Lori Wiley-Drones adopted ten-year-old A.D. in 2001, they sued the state of Alaska for allowing their adopted son to remain in the care of his abusive father. They collected $824,000 for the boy, then stole the entire fund from his account.



Couple charged with draining adopted son's bank account

Federal prosecutors say an Alaska couple stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from their adopted son, who won the money from the state in a settlement.

A grand jury handed up an indictment Wednesday for Edward Drones, 61, and his wife, Lori Wiley-Drones, 57, that alleges two dozen counts of felony wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The state of Alaska put the boy -- called "A.D." in the indictment -- into the Drones' custody as a foster child in 1996, when he was 5 or 6 years old. The Drones formally adopted him in 2001, the indictment says. The couple sued the state for "failure to protect" A.D. in 2005, claiming the boy, who was born to a drug- and alcohol-addicted mother, was allowed to live with his abusive and neglectful father, according to the lawsuit.

The state agreed to pay the boy about $824,000 just before he turned 18, and his foster parents, the Drones, moved to have a conservator appointed to control the boy's money, the indictment says.

"Wiley-Drones told the court that A.D.'s property would be 'wasted and dissipated unless proper management is provided,' " the indictment says.

A year after the settlement, Wiley-Drones told the court-appointed conservator the teenager had decided to buy a house. The conservator objected to that idea, as well as a subsequent request by the foster parents to be paid more than $1,600 a month for A.D.'s care, the indictment says.

The Drones eventually got the conservator removed, took control of the boy's finances, including a bank card they used to drain his accounts, the indictment says.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says the foster parents took an average of $1,000 a day in their first month controlling his funds. They went on to buy a $220,000 home in Washington state, spent $49,000 on vehicles for themselves when A.D. did not have a driver's license, and dropped more than $25,000 on expensive jewelry for the adoptive mother, among other items, the indictment alleges. They also made about $124,000 in online payments for bills on credit cards that were not in the boy's name, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

In the end, the Drones spent all but $15.05 of A.D.'s $824,000 settlement, the prosecutors say.

Edward Drones was arrested in Anchorage on Wednesday, according to court documents. Lori Wiley-Drones was arrested in Washington the same day.

Federal prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of the Washington home, a mobile home in Anchorage, and more than two dozen items of women's fine jewelry, according to the indictment. The prosecutors also say the will seek as much as $775,000 in cash.

Reach Casey Grove at or 257-4589.

Source: Anchorage Daily News

Record Your Experience

May 31, 2012 permalink

Canada Court Watch announces a new website where clients can record their experiences with child protection workers, lawyers, judges, foster home and group home workers, teachers, psychologists and others.



The Canadian Registry for Public Accountability launches registry website

(May 30, 2012) The Canadian Registry for Public Accountability ( launched is awaited registration website where Canadians can share their experiences dealing with Child Protection workers, lawyers, judges Foster home and group home workers, school teachers, psychologists, children's lawyers, etc.

For the first time Canadians will be able to collect and share data about those individuals who have affected their lives or the lives of their family or friends.

Readers are encouraged to visit and to join up as a member of the site.

Source: Canada Court Watch

Oh, my God! My Baby!

May 30, 2012 permalink

Zeus nursing
Zeus nursing

Mother Daisy Bram was separated from her babies in a California raid for using medical marijuana while breastfeeding. Her screams were recorded and are heard on a YouTube video following the news article.



Children taken from mom in pot raid inflame Butte County ballot debate

One of California's more vociferous battles over marijuana was already simmering in the upper Central Valley when an audiotape of a howling, hysterical mother went viral.

"Oh, my God! My baby! My baby! My baby!" screamed Daisy Bram, 30, as Butte County child welfare officers took custody of her newborn infant and 18-month-old toddler during a Sept. 29 marijuana raid on her family's rural house outside Oroville.

On June 11, six days after Butte County voters decide a controversial ballot challenge to restrictions on marijuana growing, Bram faces a preliminary hearing on charges of felony child abuse and misdemeanor child endangerment.

WAMM Pot co-op
Butte County child welfare officers took custody of Daisy Bram's newborn infant and 18-month-old toddler during a Sept. 29 marijuana raid on her family’s rural house outside Oroville.

Her defenders say Bram is essentially being prosecuted for breast-feeding while using medical marijuana. They say her case dramatizes what they contend are heavy-handed policies for medical marijuana use in Butte County, where supervisors put restrictions on growing medical pot, and police and an aggressive district attorney shuttered all local marijuana dispensaries.

"The general populace is in an uproar over this," said Robert Galia, a partner in a Chico-area dispensary that closed in 2011, a year after being raided by police. "This whole thing that she endangered her kids is just a farce."

Los Angeles lawyer Michael Feinsohn, who is representing Bram free of charge, said her case and the audio that's drawing audiences from Israel to Thailand "have really garnered support and made this a righteous cause."

Bram's case is being prosecuted as Butte County residents prepare to vote next week on a measure to ban medical marijuana cultivation on properties of one-half acre or less and limit the number of plants on larger parcels. Angry marijuana advocates gathered more than 12,000 signatures to force a vote on the issue after supervisors approved the growing restrictions last year.

District Attorney Mike Ramsey makes no apologies for his contention that many people in the county are exploiting the cover of medical marijuana to illegally deal pot. Ramsey said his prosecution of Bram is consistent with his office's mission to protect drug-endangered children – in this case from a home strewn with marijuana buds being harvested.

"The officers are saying that this was a place that was obviously endangering the health of these children," Ramsey said. "A mother is obviously not protecting the children from this commercial (pot-growing) operation."

Bram and her husband, Jayme Walsh, were charged with felony marijuana possession and possession for sale after officers raided their 38-plant garden and seized another 56 plants from inside their home, authorities said.

After a preliminary hearing last November, Butte Superior Court Judge Stephen J. Howell upheld the drug charges but threw out counts of felony child abuse against both parents.

Ramsey, who said the child endangerment charges were dismissed because some of his witnesses weren't available, refiled them against the mother.

Following the September raid, Bram's children were put in foster care. In her campaign to get them back, she posted an online photo of herself breast-feeding the children, toddler Thor and baby Zeus. At the time of the raid, the toddler was 18 months and the baby 28 days old.

In the police audiotape, obtained by her husband in court discovery, an officer speaks in an understated voice trying calm her. Bram shrieks: "They took my baby! How is he going to eat? … He's a newborn!"

Bram said she got her children back four months later, after she gave up pot for the prescription drug Marinol, which uses synthetic ingredients to mimic the properties of marijuana.

She maintains she is being prosecuted for two reasons: She was using medical marijuana and breast-feeding her kids. Bram said she consumed pot to help with an injured hand and that her husband used it to relieve stress; they possessed the plants for personal use, she said, not sale.

"It defies logic if you think of a mother consuming cannabis and breast-feeding facing a child abuse charge," Bram said.

Ramsey said the case is about a dangerous drug environment, not breast-feeding. He said tests on hair samples from the toddler, Thor, revealed traces of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the psychoactive element in pot. The baby had insufficient hair to test, he said.

Dr. Angela Rosas, chief of pediatrics at Sutter Memorial Hospital in Sacramento and a specialist in drug-endangered children, said it is common for marijuana to concentrate in breast milk.

She said mothers are urged not to use pot while nursing but that studies conflict on whether THC in breast milk is harmful. "We don't have any newborns coming in with marijuana intoxication," she said.

Rosas said she has, however, treated toddlers who were comatose after eating marijuana. She said they recovered in a day or two.

Josh Cook, a spokesman for the community group Butte Concerned Neighbors, said he had not heard of Bram's child-endangerment case. He was puzzled to learn of the saga as residents prepare to vote on Measure A to uphold or overturn local pot-growing limits.

"Some of my friends live in residential areas where neighbors are growing 50 plants in their backyards – it stinks so bad," Cook said. "I don't know about all the other dramas about medical marijuana … How these issues become a freak show is beyond me."

Daniel Levine, spokesman for Citizens for Compassionate Use, which protests the growing restrictions and dispensary ban, said the local cannabis cause got an unlikely heroine in Daisy Bram and her wails over losing her children in a pot raid.

"It pulls the heartstrings," Levine said.

Source: Modesto Bee

The recording mentioned in the article is on YouTube or our local copy (mp4). The YouTube blurb follows.

Uploaded by FreeMyBabies on Jan 15, 2012

This is what happens when you abide by the laws of the land. This is the arrest of Valid Medical Cannabis Patients in Butte County Ca. What you hear is the violent snatching of a 3 week old nursing newborn , Zeus, from the arms of his mother and the screaming in the background is that of Thor, his 15 month old brother. Parents Daisy Bram & Jayme Walsh were arrested on Sept. 29, 2011 by the Butte Interagency Narcotic Task Force (BINTF) and the innocent babies were "detained" and placed in a group home. These parents are now fighting CPS of Butte County to get their innocent babies back, a battle not easily won as the county stands to gain Several Thousand Dollars if these babies are Sold/Adopted out. PLEASE find us on facebook: FreeMy Babies, or parents-patients-rights, or find updates at


Girl Apprehended

May 29, 2012 permalink

Lyonessa Boyd

A desperate mother pleads for help in getting her baby girl, Lyonessa Boyd.

Katelyn ER Woodruff I am Looking to the group for help. My CAS worker came on Tuesday flashed me a warrant and hid behind four large cops and took my beloved Lyonessa. My mother has gotten a lawyer Kathy Baker but I feel me and my husband need one too. Can anyone recommend a Lawyer to help us fight. I am distraught but trying to keep myself together. Any advice. I don't even know why she took them but we are trying to find out. We are on ODSP and would need to qualify for legal aid.

Source: Facebook, Stop CAS ...

A later posting in the same forum gives more details of the past family involvement with CAS.



Katelyn ER Woodruff OK. There was an appointment from CAS about the 18th of this month. Our CAS Worker Kelly Mosey had ordered unscheduled visits. I remembering they do not have the right without so I told her she cannot do so without notice. She blatantly told me that if I didn't I was being uncooperative. My husband out of sheer frustration said we have bent over backwards and we are not doing no more. Get out or I will call the police! I joined along side my husband. My daughter was at daycare. She left where my husband went to get our daughter to see her in the hall crying on her cell phone. She came back when we had our daughter. I went from crying to happy to see my daughter. (I have bipolar with scizoaffective disorder am medicated and attending appointments) Then Friday she tried to force her way through my door as mentioned, my daughter was at daycare again and my brother denied her entry and then went to her daycare to check on her. My mom picked her up she saw Kelly but Kelly said nothing to my mom and let her go. Monday she came at 2 pm and flashed a warrant and hid behind 4 big officers and then grabbed Lyonessa and and ran out the door. The police had to stop my husband from jumping the balcony and was stopped. The police officers said to John that she was going to my mom's and then had to calm me down cause I fell twice and was crying and trembling asking WHY???? SO as it stands I still have not heard from my worker as of why. Neither has my mother and I am really upset cause I don't understand.

Source: Facebook, Stop CAS ...

Addendum: An open Facebook group Get Lyonessa Home! has a letter to their MPP (MS-Word).

Addendum: At the first court hearing on May 31, Lyonessa was left in foster care pending a background check of Katelyn's mother. CAS was dismayed to hear that Katelyn was in contact with Canada Court Watch.

Addendum: Comments six days after apprehension.



Katelyn ER Woodruff Lyonessa has gone from 150 words and the ability to make sentences to maybe 5 words max and my CAS worker was trying to make excuses.

She came into the visit with a soaked diaper I changed her fine.

What concerns me more is she isn't talking much and she freaked out when the foster mom came near.

She slapped the worker across the face.

Source: Facebook

A month later Lyonessa is going to her grandma.

Katelyn ER Woodruff update we got lyonessa into my moms care

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Involuntary Service Agreement

May 28, 2012 permalink

Those Voluntary Service Agreements in which parents sign their children over to child protectors are rarely voluntary. The Houston Chronicle tells of cases in which they are as voluntary as a bank teller turning over money to a robber with a gun. Another abuse not mentioned in the article: some parents are duped in to signing a voluntary service agreement by deception. The social worker says: "This is just a formality so we can help your family".



Hart: 'Voluntary' CPS plan has some parents feeling bullied

Two young families in the Houston area suffered unspeakable tragedies in recent months. In one case, a toddler drowned; in another, a new mother was gunned down in a parking lot and her newborn snatched. Both incidents required investigation by law enforcement officials, who as a matter of course, called Child Protective Services.

What happened next to both families reflects a disturbing trend that Houston attorney Chris Branson blames on a 2008 legal memorandum sent to all Texas CPS investigators. The grieving, distraught parents were asked to sign a "voluntary safety plan" drawn up by CPS, temporarily placing their remaining children in someone else's care.

Following a 2008 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, CPS investigators were encouraged to seek such "voluntary" agreements before removing children from a home. Otherwise, the memo cautioned, they would need to wait for a court order, unless the child faced imminent danger.

Now, "not a week goes by" that Branson says he isn't contacted by parents who feel they've been bullied into surrendering their children to a "voluntary" plan under threat they will lose their children permanently through court intervention. Most were warned by CPS not to consult a lawyer, he says.

"CPS doesn't like it when lawyers are involved," Branson said. As a result, "there's an important step in due process they (CPS) tend to skip." Branson says. After all, "voluntary" plans don't have to be reviewed by a judge.

1,031 April cases

He compared it to a bank robber holding a gun to a clerk's head with a command: "I want you to voluntarily give me the money. It's your choice."

State statistics support Branson's opinion that the voluntary agreements have become routine. During last fiscal year, some 11,486 voluntary safety agreements were signed. Last month alone, 1,031 were signed statewide.

Branson's clients, Mike and April Davis, came to Texas with their two toddlers seeking work.

Then, "every parent's nightmare" happened: April put her two children down for an afternoon nap and tried to snag the rest that every young mother desperately needs.

A half hour later, she awoke and found Devon had escaped the house. After a four-day search, he was found drowned in a nearby lake.

The Davises would later tell Branson that they agreed to allow CPS take their 18-month-old daughter, Abbygail, to foster care under a "voluntary safety plan."

At a time of deep grief, they were desperately afraid they would lose her forever.

On April 17, Kala Schuchardt was gunned down as she took her 3-day-old son to a Spring pediatrician; her killer snatched the baby.

Law enforcement officials arrested her killer within hours, but when her husband, Keith, went to retrieve the infant, he faced questioning about a seven-year-old drug charge.

He submitted to a drug test that showed marijuana and a painkiller in his system. Like the Davises, he was asked to agree to "voluntary" placement giving his two sons and stepson temporarily to his brother-in-law.

Both Schuchardt and the Davises contacted lawyers and subsequently retrieved their children.

Branson sees a pattern since the 5th Circuit ruled on a Fort Bend County case involving a family of 13 children, most of who had been adopted. School officials contacted CPS after learning of unusual and harsh punishments administered by the father.

Though ruling against the family, the 5th Circuit criticized CPS for removing the children without a court order and warned that it expected the agency to "abide by these constitutional rules and seek to involve the state courts as early in the process as is practicable."

Shortly afterward, a memo was circulated to CPS investigators, recommending a new practice: "We obtain consent, or file for a court order prior to removal unless life or limb is in immediate jeopardy or sexual abuse is about to occur."

'Investigation tool'

Patrick Crimmins, a spokesman for the Department of Family and Protective Services, says voluntary safety plans are used when "legitimate concerns are raised" in the course of an investigation. "It is just an investigation tool" to keep children safe until concerns are allayed, he said.

Each day, overworked, underpaid CPS investigators are untangling complicated living situations, seeking the best outcomes for Texas children. But parental rights should not be subject to coercive legal shortcuts.

Branson says his clients, the Davises, have returned to their home state of Virginia. "He walked away from his new job," he says. "My suspicion is they've had it with Texas."

Source: Houston Chronicle

Addendum: Robert Franklin comments on the article.



TX: ‘Voluntary’ Safety Plans Allow CPS to Circumvent Due Process

In Texas, Child Protective Services has begun using “voluntary safety plans” to avoid parents’ constitutional rights. In fact, the practice has exploded with almost 12,000 of the safety plans being signed last year. Read about it here (Houston Chronicle, 5/28/12).

I wrote recently about the dramatic expansion of state power into family life that child welfare agencies embody. These “voluntary” plans are the latest innovation in that process.

In 2008, the United States Fifth Circuit Court hammered Texas CPS for its practice of removing children from parents without a court order. That was done when CPS decided that a child was at risk and that it was an emergency to have him/her removed from the dangerous situation. Far to the north in Detroit, that’s exactly what happened to Maryanne Godboldo when the child welfare agency snatched her 13-year-old daughter. The agency decided that Godboldo’s refusal to give the girl the psychotropic medication Risperdal created an emergency that risked her well-being. That dispensed with the need to inform Godboldo of the legal proceedings against her.

Back in Houston, last year District Judge Michael Schneider got so angry with a CPS caseworker and her supervisor about taking a child without a court hearing, that he ordered the two to write essays proving that they understood the constitutional implications of CPS power.

Apparently the Fifth Circuit isn’t any more impressed with CPS than Schneider is. The article tells us that the court in 2008 instructed CPS to start abiding by the law of the land.

Though ruling against the family, the 5th Circuit criticized CPS for removing the children without a court order and warned that it expected the agency to “abide by these constitutional rules and seek to involve the state courts as early in the process as is practicable.”

So, if you’re a powerful state agency that’s just been slapped by a federal appeals court and told to “involve the state courts as early in the process as possible,” what do you do? The opposite, that’s what. After all, that’s what “voluntary safety plans” are all about. Following hard on the heels of the 5th Circuit decision, CPS sent a memorandum to all its investigators encouraging them to seek parental acquiescence to the “voluntary safety plans” that unsurprisingly involve taking their kids into foster care. In other words, CPS could have done what the federal court wanted it to do – go to court for an order when it wanted to take a child from its parents. That would have honored due process, but, as is so typical of state power, CPS opted to cut the court out of the process. It did so by getting the parents’ consent to take their children from them. As long as the veil of “voluntary consent” is in place, no court need be involved, and of course, no evidence produced of the need to take the kids into care.

It’s the same reason the police ask you if it’s OK with you if they search your automobile, house, etc. If you agree – and many people are too intimidated not to – there’s no need for probable cause.

Now, if the consent is truly voluntary, then no one can argue with that way of doing things, but when CPS is involved, consent is likely anything but.

Now, “not a week goes by” that [Houston Attorney Chris] Branson says he isn’t contacted by parents who feel they’ve been bullied into surrendering their children to a “voluntary” plan under threat they will lose their children permanently through court intervention. Most were warned by CPS not to consult a lawyer, he says.

“CPS doesn’t like it when lawyers are involved,” Branson said. As a result, “there’s an important step in due process they (CPS) tend to skip.” Branson says. After all, “voluntary” plans don’t have to be reviewed by a judge.

CPS likes these “voluntary” plans so much its gotten parental signatures on almost 12,000 of them just in the last year alone. The article gives two recent examples of CPS’s strong-arm tactics in securing those “voluntary” signatures.

In one, Dad was at work and Mom had put the two children down for an afternoon nap. She caught a few winks of her own, during which her toddler managed to get out of the house and drown in a nearby pond. Rather than investigate to find out if the parents truly posed a danger to their remaining child and prove their case to a judge, CPS used the parents’ anguish and grief at the loss of their child and the threat of permanent loss of the other to get them to sign one of those “voluntary” safety plans.

In the second, Mom brought her three-day-old child to the pediatrician. In the parking lot of the doctor’s office, a woman shoved a pistol in her face, shot and killed her and made off with the newborn. To CPS, apparently, that signified something dangerous about the father, who wasn’t even present. When he appeared to recover his child (the mother’s killer was apprehended hours after her crime), CPS started grilling him. For what reason, I can’t imagine, but in the process he admitted to a drug charge seven years ago. Based on that, CPS demanded a drug test that revealed the presence of pot and a painkiller in his system. It then demanded that he sign a “voluntary” safety plan or risk losing his child.

Needless to say, in the second case, no sane judge would have allowed either the drug test or the taking of the child. In fact, in both cases, the parents contacted attorneys who put a stop to CPS’s shenanigans and returned the children to them.

But few parents have the money to contact attorneys, a fact well known to CPS. Those without access to legal advice find themselves over a barrel. CPS intimidates them with the potential permanent loss of their children, and so they agree to the “voluntary” safety plan which at least is temporary.

The lesson is clear: when ordered by a federal court to abide by the Constitution, CPS did the opposite. Instead, it circumvented it. It did so because states agencies jealously defend their power. In the case of CPS, that power is exercised at the expense of parents and, often as not, in violation of the law.

Source: Fathers and Families

child robbery

Terrorizing Europe

May 26, 2012 permalink

British social workers are not satisfied just terrifying the families of England, so they have taken to snatching children in other countries as well. They don't care about niceties like the law.



Social workers told to return snatched baby to France

At least in this case, the family has won their baby back.

UK social workers have taken to snatching children abroad
UK social workers have taken to snatching children abroad who have never even lived here
Photo: ALAMY

By Christopher Booker, 6:30PM BST 26 May 2012

Two parallel stories last week highlighted what has become one of the most bizarre features of our “child protection” system – the fanatical determination of our social workers to track down mothers who have fled overseas to escape their clutches, and bring their children back to “care” in England.

On March 22, I reported, in anonymised form, the case of Joe Ollis and Marie Black, who escaped to start a new life at his mother’s home in France, so that they could keep the child they were expecting. Norfolk social workers had threatened to seize the baby as soon as it was born, because of the mother’s domestic problems in a previous relationship. The social workers were authorised by a court to go to France (at a cost of £8,000) and bring the baby back to England.

Fortunately, at a later hearing, a French journalist, who had been following this unhappy story, ran into Brendan Fleming outside the court. He is the one solicitor who has won a reputation for fighting the manifold abuses and injustices of this crazily corrupted system. He took on the case and challenged the judge’s ruling in the High Court. It appeared to have been in breach of EU law (“Brussels II” as it is known). It had also breached the famous “Hedley judgment”, by ruling that a baby born in France could be considered as having had “habitual residence” in England – even though it had never been here.

Last Monday, lawyers for Norfolk caved in. A High Court judge discharged all the earlier orders, ruling that the baby must be returned to France and closing the case (which is why I can now name the parents and the local authority).

The social workers, I gather, have tried to protest that this is a problem, because the baby hasn’t got a passport – though this didn’t stand in the way of their bringing the child to England in the first place. But an important principle of law has been upheld, and a dreadful injustice is on the way to being reversed.

How ironic that, in the same week, Welsh social workers seemed just as determined to track down another couple, who recently escaped to Spain to avoid their child being seized at birth, because of incidents involving the mother’s previous partner.

On Thursday, after a court had placed orders on the child, even though it was born in Spain, a social worker led a team of six policemen round the homes of the mother’s divorced mother, father and sister, threatening them with prison if they did not reveal the couple’s whereabouts. At the direction of the social worker, all three homes, I gather, were searched from top to bottom.

The child’s grandmother and grandfather were separately arrested and held in custody for several hours before being released without charge. The police also confiscated parcels due to be delivered by the grandmother as part of her job, refusing to give them back.

I hope that this second awful case can also be taken on by the doughty Brendan Fleming, who for so many parents has become a shining light in the nightmare world in which they find themselves.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

CPS law

Reminiscence of Foster Care

May 26, 2012 permalink

Baby Shatoya Cheyenne Chatelaine spent the first year of her life in Saskatchewan foster care but died of untreated medical problems after going back to her mother. The news article gives the opinion of the crown prosecutor, the foster mother and her husband, a child protection worker, the defense lawyer and the child's aunt. The mother Charissma McDonald cannot speak because she is bound to silence by the criminal justice system. Since she provided good care for her five other children, she cannot be a monster. Maybe she failed to take the baby to a doctor out of fear of losing her again. Or maybe during the year the baby was away she stopped thinking of her as a member of the family. There is no way to know, but heaping more punishment on the mother diverts attention from the failings of the child protection system in this case.



Neglected Saskatchewan tot abused before her death, court hears

Charissma McDonald
Charissma McDonald heads into Queen's Bench Courthouse in Saskatoon
Photograph by: Richard Marjan, The StarPhoenix

A 16-month-old girl who died from a rampant skin infection, while starved to skin and bone, had been seen by a doctor two weeks before her death, a sentencing judge heard Friday.

Shatoya Cheyenne Chatelaine’s bruised and battered body was found in her crib Dec. 11, 2006.

Her mother, Charissma Deedee McDonald, 30, who has pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death, will find out June 30 if she will go to prison for the crime.

Crown prosecutor Sheryl Fillo is asking Justice Neil Gabrielson to impose three years in a federal institution for the woman who provided proper care for her five other children but neglected the one child with whom she had not bonded.

Shatoya had spent the first year of her life in foster care, after being born addicted to morphine.

Foster mother Gayle Warkentin, provided photographs of the chubby, healthy baby she delivered back to McDonald on May 30, 2006.

An autopsy showed that in the next six months, Shatoya suffered a broken arm, broken ribs, concussions and bruises, all on different occasions and none of which had been treated by a doctor.

Autopsy photographs showed she had lost weight until she was just “skin and bone,” Fillo said.

The child’s face was spotted with impetigo, a common, easily treated skin infection that spread even into her mouth, making eating difficult.

Within three months of going back into her mother’s care, Shatoya had also been hospitalized with second-degree burns from being immersed in a tub of scalding water.

A child protection worker, Shawna Dickhoff, and Saskatoon Tribal Council worker, Pauline Cardinal, had been assigned to the case, but neither of them was aware that McDonald was having difficulty caring for Shatoya after her release from the hospital in August 2006.

McDonald had four children older than Shatoya and a baby who was born in September 2006, three months before Shatoya’s death.

The children’s father had been jail for much of that year and was in custody at the time of the death.

Dickhoff had said McDonald’s home was the cleanest, best-kept home of any of the 44 families in her case file, Fillo said.

On November 27, a doctor made a house call to the apartment where McDonald’s brother, Lonnie McDonald, was babysitting.

The next day on the phone, the doctor told McDonald to take Shatoya to the hospital emergency department because she was very sick with the skin infection.

McDonald never did.

She also refused offers from family members to drive her and Shatoya to the hospital, Fillo said.

In victim impact statements that were read in court, Warkentin, her husband and four children spoke of the pain they suffer thinking of the “gruesome details of Shatoya’s death at the hands of her mother.”

Warkentin said she still fosters children in need but she no longer trusts the words of biological parents or social workers.

“Where were they?” she said.

Defense lawyer Kevin Hill is asking for his client to be allowed to serve an 18 month sentence in the community, saying that as an aboriginal person, McDonald had a fear of the state that affected her decision to hide the baby’s illness from social workers and health care officials.

McDonald’s sister, Tara Lee McDonald, said in a statement Friday her sister loved her child and thinks about her every day.

Tara McDonald noted that all members of Shatoya’s foster family were invited to make victim impact statements for the judge to consider but no one from Shatoya’s biological family was given the same consideration.

“What does that tell you?” she said.

Source: Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Group Home Worker Killed

May 26, 2012 permalink

Alberta group home worker Dianne McClements was killed by a teenaged client. Enclosed is a sympathetic biography of the victim.



Alberta care system ‘horribly broken,’ brother of slain worker says

Teen accused of murder should have been in hospital, not group home, he argues

Dianne McClements
Dianne McClements, 61, was identified by family as a care worker found dead in a Camrose group home on Saturday, May 12, 2012. A 17-year-old boy was charged with second-degree-murder in connection with the death.
Photograph by: Supplied ,

EDMONTON - In the days before her brutal slaying, Dianne McClements, a 61-year-old caregiver who worked at a Camrose group home for older teens, told her brother she was worried about one of the boys in her care who had symptoms of schizophrenia.

Doug Culbert, who works as a college administrator in Qatar, says his sister was a dedicated professional who respected the privacy of her clients and never mentioned them by name. But she had expressed repeated concerns about one of the young men who lived at the Marler Supportive Living home, where she worked alone on the night shift.

“He was borderline psychotic and she feared he was becoming delusional,” he says. “She told me he was seeing zombies.”

Culbert says his sister told him the boy was refusing to take his anti-psychotic medication and she had no legal power to make him do so.

Culbert believes the teen is the same 17-year-old group-home resident who has been charged with second-degree murder in her stabbing death. The teen’s identity is protected by the privacy provisions of the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act and the provincial Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act.

His first appearance in Camrose youth court is scheduled for June 7.

Culbert says even though his sister was concerned the young man wasn’t getting proper medical care, she never refused to look after him.

“She felt she couldn’t say, ‘I’m feeling unsafe, I’m not going to work.’ She had no job protection whatsoever. How could anyone speak up if you felt your contract wasn’t going to be renewed? But she shouldn’t have been working alone and that young man should not have been there.”

McClements’ brother says his sister tried hard to help the teen, who also had symptoms of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. But he believes the boy should have been in a hospital, not a community group home.

“If someone needs his mental health addressed, it needs to be done in a timely manner. He’d had a very troubled childhood. Certainly, she had empathy for him. She was very open, very understanding. She didn’t judge anybody. She realized that he’d been kicked around and that he didn’t have much of a chance.”

Gerry McCracken, director of Camrose Community Connections, the not-for-profit agency that ran the group home under contract to the province, says he knew of no concerns regarding the young man’s mental health.

“That’s news to me. I’ve never heard that before.”

McCracken says he’s not sure if the young man received a psychiatric evaluation.

“Even if I knew, I couldn’t tell you because he’s a minor.”

McCracken says the accused had lived in the home for “well over a year” without incident.

“We have a very very good intake process. His placement had to be approved by both Children’s Services and our organization,” says McCracken. “We had no concerns.”

McCracken compares the killing of McClements to statistical chance — “like winning the Lotto 6/49.”

It’s not a comparison likely to offer much comfort to McClements’ friends and family, who are mourning the loss of the woman they remember as a warm, calming and dedicated mother, sister, daughter and professional.

McClements was born and raised in the small town of Sedgewick, where her family has lived for 60 years. One of six children, she married at 20 and raised two children.

When she went back to work, she upgraded her education with night classes and correspondence courses, and dedicated herself to looking after handicapped children.

Barb Glasgow has seven children. One of her sons was born with severe cerebral palsy, which left him unable to speak or walk. McClements spent almost 10 years with Glasgow and her family as an in-home support worker and classroom aide.

“She was like another mom to my kids,” says Glasgow. For a time, Glasgow says, McClements left the child-care field and tried running an antique shop and selling real estate. Later she returned to the social services.

She had been an employee of Camrose Community Connections for 12 years and was the team leader for the Marler House group home. Glasgow says her friend enjoyed working at the group home, where she saw herself as a den mother, helping teens learn to live independently.

Glasgow is angry about the chain of events that led to her friend’s murder. She wants to know why there wasn’t a more thorough psychiatric assessment of the young man charged in the death. She wants to know why McClements was working alone, without support. She wants to know, too, why the youth workers in the home weren’t given panic buttons or alarms in case something went wrong.

McCracken says there were no panic buttons or alarms because there had never been a need for them. The home, he says, wasn’t for teens with severe behavioural problems.

“It wasn’t the type of situation. We didn’t feel that anything like that was needed.”

McCracken says McClements was “very experienced and very knowledgeable” and particularly adept at handling teens with fetal alcohol syndrome. There was no way, he says, to foresee what happened.

But for Doug Culbert, the issue isn’t the specific working conditions his sister faced. For him, the true underlying problems that led to her death are the breakdown of the underfunded mental-health-care system and the way the province has spent the past decade outsourcing and privatizing the child welfare system, contracting out care on a competitive basis to private agencies, which in turn have to cut costs to make ends meet.

To him, it’s an economic model that doesn’t protect the interests of vulnerable children or vulnerable caregivers.

“The system is horribly broken,” he says. “The business model has no place in the social services. Some of these children, the state is essentially raising. Would you raise your child on a business model? Or course not. It’s absurd.”

Until the mental-health system and the child welfare system are properly funded, he argues, workers like his sister will continue to be put at risk.

“The people who are dedicated and working in the system should not be put in a situation of potential danger. My wish out of this is that nobody else be put in harm’s way. That way, my sister won’t have died in vain.”

Source: Edmonton Journal

Foster Children Sue

May 26, 2012 permalink

Saskatchewan's Merchant Law Group is launching a class-action lawsuit on behalf of persons abused in provincial foster care since 1959.



Sask. foster care suit launched

Suggesting the Saskatchewan government failed in its legal responsibilities toward children abused in foster care, a Regina law firm has filed a unique proposed classaction lawsuit.

"Please hear the cries of the foster child. They were being hurt," Bernice McInnes, one of the named plaintiffs, said in an interview after the suit was filed Friday in Regina by Merchant Law Group.

At the age of 11, McInnes, then in Saskatoon, was removed from her own physically abusive home and placed into foster care in 1969.

The suit alleges that she endured six years of physical, sexual and mental abuse at the hands of her foster parents.

"It was quite life and death in there," said McInnes, now residing in Calgary.

The class proposed in the suit is all persons who suffered personal injury as a minor by a third-party on or after 1959 while in the care of Saskatchewan's Social Services, which did not pursue legal action or seek compensation on their behalf.

The action is being taken against the Saskatchewan government as represented by the Minister of Social Services, and the province's Public Guardian and Trustee.

"The defendant turned a blind eye to abuse that was occurring in foster homes throughout Saskatchewan in order to advance its own economic and administrative interests," says a statement of claim.

Social Services spokesman Andrew Dinsmore said the ministry would not comment on a matter before the courts. A statement of defence has not yet been filed.

A class-action lawsuit must be certified by a judge to proceed, so the filing of the claim is only the first step. A statement of claim contains allegations not yet proven in court.

Lawyer Tony Merchant has taken on a number of actions alleging abuse within institutions, including residential schools, correctional facilities, and a school for the deaf. As the self-described "goto guy on did bad things happen to you when you were a child," Merchant said he's heard from hundreds of people over the years who raised complaints like McInnes.

In many cases, the foster parents have passed away or don't have the financial means to make suing them worthwhile.

"This class action is a winner for the victims," Merchant said.

Unlike the government-run residential schools, the law prevents holding the government vicariously liable for abuse suffered in foster homes, which are an "independent contractor of the government." However, Merchant contends the government is responsible for failing to press the legal interests of those children who were abused in care. "They should have sued the abuser," he said. He plans to take similar action in other provinces.

Merchant is unclear of the size of the proposed class in Saskatchewan, but believes the numbers will be in the thousands. "I think it (abuse) was more prevalent than one likes to think," he said.

The claim contends the government not only failed to sue on the foster child's behalf, but also failed to report the criminal acts to authorities, so the offenders could be brought to justice, and should have applied for crime compensation.

One of the cases outlined in the suit alleges a young girl and her sister were sexually abused by a father and son in the same home. Although initially reported to Social Services, the children were temporarily removed from the home then returned, the suit alleges.

In the case of McInnes, who consented to being identified, the claim alleges a litany of abuses suffered, including a forcibly dislocated jaw, scalded hands, electrocution, starvation, and rape.

"You could obviously see I was abused," said McInnes, who questions why those around her, including her social worker and doctors, never took action. "In those days, abuse was very hush, hush," she said.

Aside from being heard and believed, she hopes the lawsuit brings significant compensation to restore a troubled life - "all the years I missed out on in my career."

Source: Regina Leader-Post

Reversing Reform

May 25, 2012 permalink

A decade ago Maine had a scandalous child protection system. It reached its nadir with the death of five-year-old Logan Marr at the hands of ex-social worker Sally Schofield turned adoptive parent. Ten years of improvement have led former Maine critics to praise the new trimmed-down child protection system.

Now in the pattern of a foster care panic, Maine is seeking to undo the entire decade's reform with public reaction to a single horrible child death. One of the graduates of Maine's foster system, Gordon Collins-Faunce, murdered ten-week-old Ethan Henderson, and this tragedy is becoming the justification for a large expansion in the number of children removed from their parents.

Enclosed are summaries by Legally Kidnapped (LK, Patrick Rafferty) and Richard Wexler. In LK's terms, a system suck is a person who supports the social services system.



A System-Suckology Case Study: The Death of Ethan Henderson

The state of Maine has been recognized by the Anne E. Casey Foundation as having a NationalModel Child Welfare System. The reason for this is that the state has managed to cut the number of kids in foster care in half over the last 10 years, by utilizing more kinship placements and doing more to help the family by giving the parents the support they need, which helps keep children who come to the attention of Maine's Child Protective Services safe in their own homes. These reforms happened mostly in response to thedeath of a little girl named Logan Marr.

Then on May 5th, of this year, there was another horrible act of child abuse committed against a little baby from Maine named Ethan Henderson. I have been following this case because I believe it is being used as a springboard in Maine to turn around the trend of taking less kids into care and instead be a bit quicker to remove. For this, I believe there are two reasons. The first is that the state is broke and the more kids they take into care, the more federal funding they will receive. The second reason is that the state's economy is staggering, needs to be able to provide business to the service providers. We all know that the minute a kid is taken into foster care an army of service providers, everybody from the lawyers to the shrinks, get their contracts. For example, as the state moves to put less reliance onto group homes the group home providers will fight to remain afloat by touting their benefits to some news reporter looking for an expert opinion. Without business, they close. But we'll get to that later.


I have done something a little different with this case. What I have done is collect a number of articles that mention the case of Ethan Henderson. From these articles, I pulled out various factors, main points, what have you, and put it all into a mind mapping software program that I found in the GoogleChrome Web Store. From there I was able to pick out and organize a few of the patterns that the people who are fighting for justice against Child Welfare Fraud should be made aware of.

So lets take a look at this case.

The mother, had gone to work on Saturday May 5th, leaving her three kids with Gordon Collins-Faunce. Collins-Faunce was the father of their 10 week old twins named Ethan and Lucas. At one point the father went out to have a cigarette, and when he came back Ethan and a 3 year old daughter from the mothers previous relationship were both crying. Collins-Faunce became frustrated with the baby crying and picked Ethan up by the head, holding him dangling for a minute max, then threw him violently into a chair, causing the infants head to snap back. When being questioned by the police, Collins-Faunce estimated that on a scale of 1 to 10, the force with which he threw Ethan was probably an 8 or 9. Friends also said that Collins-Faunce had been targeting Ethan, and that they didn't even realize it.

Doctors said that Ethan presented as dirty with a rash, dirt under the fingernails and a dirty belly button. They also said that they had found both New and old brain injuries. He was blinded and one side of his brain had completely stopped working. Police were monitoring his condition which was described as "grave" and on May 7th, Ethan died.

Now, this is one of those cases where Child Protective Services really should have been involved. This guy is a sicko, and is obviously not safe to have around children. Also, if CPS was involved with this family, that is something that we do not know at this point. What we do know is that there were prior incidents of abuse.

The first incident was when Collins-Faunce had broken the babies arm when he was 4 weeks old. He had gotten frustrated while changing the baby's diaper. The child was treated by doctors. Collins-Faunce had originally told them that the baby's arm had got stuck between the crib and a bumper.

As for the second incident, court documents show that a daycare provider made the referral to CPS regarding bruises on the 3 year old daughter whose name was Neveah The daycare provider also said that the twins were sick and not receiving medical attention.

Now here's where the case gets interesting, because Police will not say when this referral to CPS was made, and although one state worker did confirm that they had received a referral from the daycare provider, DHHS will not confirm or deny anything. Although we know that the above did happen, details are rather slim. The State of Maine's Attorney General's office is not allowing anybody to talk, citing an ongoing criminal investigation. Nobody else is being allowed to talk either including the hospital, CPS or anybody else who may have had contact with the family. And this is where the $100,000 dollar question comes from… "Why didn't CPS do anything to protect these kids?"

The newspapers are going nutty over it. The System Sucks are demanding answers. The people have a right to know if there are any flaws in the child welfare system. The legislature Health and Human Services committee wants to know if more could have been done to save this child to prevent more kids from falling through the cracks. I will discuss this in further detail later, but first there is more to this story. Lets take a look at the parents.

As for the mother, Christina Henderson, she was at work when the assault took place. no criminal charges have been filed against her, however Maine CPS Agents have removed the other two children, Lucas and Neveah from the home and have placed them in foster care. Records say that she never knew what was going on, although there has been a little debate around this, considering the broken arm and her 3 year old being "covered with bruises" there are those who believe that she must have done something. She is planning to petition the court to have the kids returned to her now that Collins-Faunce is no longer in the home. She also held a vigil at the home, calling Ethan her "Angel in Heaven."

Not all that much more is known about the mother. The father however had a history which should concern us greatly.

Gordon Collins-Faunce was 23 years old. He was a high school graduate who worked as a flagger on a road crew. He was discharged from the military after holding a knife to a roommates throat. Collins-Faunce was also in foster care in Maine, having gone through six different homes in 5 years. He was sexually and physically abused by "various foster parents" and was taking medication for PTSD because of this. In 1997, Collins-Faunce was adopted by Irving Faunce and his wife, he was 8 years old at the time.

Collins-Faunces PTSD meds had been changed recently, and he was having trouble sleeping. On the day of the assault against Ethan, he did not take his meds.

Gordon Collins-Faunce was arrested and charged with Elevated Aggravated Assault of a Child. After Ethan died, the charges were upgraded to, "depraved indifference murder" which shows no value for human life. He is sitting in York County Jail, on suicide watch, on $100,000 dollars bail. His lawyer is named Amy Fairfield. He will be prosecuted by the State of Maine's Attorney Generals office. He makes his first court appearance on May 11th. The criminal case is expected to last about a year. The AG doesn't want anybody to talk, citing the ongoing criminal investigation. The AG also wants a psychiatric evaluation done by the State Forensic Services.

Now, the way the newspapers are reporting this, nothing in his past matters. Nor should we be concerned with the circumstances of his past in any way. This guy is a monster who killed a child. That is all that matters right? Hang the mother-f*****!!!

I disagree. Here's why. One article talked about the adoption when Collins Faunce was 8, as being a happy ending to a troubled childhood. While that may very well have been true, Gordon Collins-Faunce was clearly a damaged child who grew up to be a very damaged adult. One so damaged, that he would at the age of 23 commit a horrendous act against a helpless infant.

First of all, if he was taking medication for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to his inability to get past the sexual abuse that he suffered at the hands of "various foster parents." This after being removed from his biological parents for "abuse or neglect." That, and the fact that his medications had recently changed and causing trouble sleeping, it is quite possible that Gordon Collins-Faunce was not entirely sane at the time of the crime. Psychiatric medications have been known to cause people to do some crazy things.

Moving on…

What's most disturbing in this case is the public and media reaction to it. What is most at issue is all of the secrecy and nobody talking is driving people absolutely nuts.

DHHS would not comment citing confidentiality rules. CPS says there is a state law preventing them from commenting on CPS cases. Child welfare advocates are asking if signs of abuse were ignored by CPS. Nobody is saying whether or not the broken arm incident triggered a call to the child abuse hotline, however a broken arm on a 4 week old should have been a bright red flag as should a 3 year old being "covered with bruises. We do not know when the report to CPS was made by the daycare provider. We do not know whether or not CPS acted on that report. We do not know if CPS agents visited the family or if they had opened an investigation on the family. We do know that they removed the other two children from the home after the assault. We do not know of that turned up any further information. Also, the hospital will not comment as to whether or not they made a report regarding the broken arm.

As a result, lots of people are asking questions. System Sucks are crawling out from under their rocks. The newspapers are demanding that the state release information so that we may know just where CPS failed this child. Was it because of a systematic failure? Is CPS short staffed? Did they investigate and find nothing wrong? Were they even investigated at all based on previous reports? Did any doctor, nurse, or anybody else report the broken arm to CPS? Did CPS act upon the report of a 3 year old covered with bruises?

Even Maine's Governor is concerned that, "The pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction," suggesting that the state has gone too far in trying to keep kids in their homes. One could make the connection that if this is the case, that CPS did in fact investigate this family. Governor Paul LePage, however, has also cut funding to DHHS which includes various programs that are used to keep kids safe in their own homes. Governor LePage also claims to have been an abused child.

Sadly, Maine's governor is an idiot. He does not consider the damage done to kids in Maine's foster care system and is using the case for a major shift in public policy change, which even Richard Wexler has thrown his two cents into the ring saying "Using Ethan's case for an excuse for major publicpolicy change would be a mistake." That shift will be for CPS agents to remove more kids from their homes.

I should also say that because nobody involved in the case in any way is talking, reporters are turning to the experts. Questions are being asked of the states Child Death and Serious Injury Review Board. Most importantly: Is CPS doing enough to protect children in Maine?

As for the broken arm, people are suggesting that doctors should have reported such an incident on a child of such a young age. We don't know if they did or not, because the AG has told everybody involved not to talk, but we find out that failure to report cases could hit a mandated reporter in the wallets with a $500 dollar fine. Dr.Lawrence Ricci of Spurwink's Child Abuse Program says that "a broken arm should be viewed as a likely sign of abuse on a 10 week old baby." Ricci also doesn't think that the state acts fast enough to remove children from their homes when there are signs of abuse. Ricci also works for a private organization which provides group home services for foster kids in Maine as well as other services for abused and neglected children. I'm not saying there is a connection between his opinions or his organization, I'm just sayin.

So what we end up with is a loud public outcry against a product of Maine's Foster Care System who was on medication at the age of 23 due to abuse which he suffered in Maine's Foster Care System, which will lead to more kids getting removed from their homes and thrown into Maine's Foster Care System. Why people actually believe that if a kid can be sexually abused by "various foster parents" that throwing kids into foster care is keeping them safe, is beyond me.

Whenever there is a child who dies from abuse or neglect, CPS reviews it's policies and procedures to see if anything could have been done differently so that that child will still be alive today. Clearly in this particular case something went wrong. We just don't know what that is exactly.

There is a lot of concern around whether or not the broken arm incident was reported. Perhaps it was perhaps it wasn't. Nobody's talking. Lawrence Ricci suggests that doctors are hesitant to report abuse because it either violates confidentiality. Another doctor suggests that if they report a family, they never see the kids again so they loose track of how they're doing. Ricci also suggests that in some cases, doctors are gullible and can't tell when a parent is lying. Ricci, however can make all the suggestions and claims that he wants. That doesn't change the fact that we simply don't know if the broken arm was reported.

You can bet your sweet ass however that the whole system in Maine is about to go under the microscope. It will give System Sucks something to talk about, something to debate and a path to grow their businesses. It will give the media something to harp on. The people will remain stuck on the fact that a baby died. They won't care about any of the circumstances which led to this. It will not matter that this is the kind of kid who comes out of Maine's Foster Care System. They will simply demand that CPS do more to protect children. Because they failed this one kid, many other children in Maine will pay.

My heart and best wishes go out to Christina Henderson and her family.

Bibliography: (in no particular order)

Source: Legally Kidnapped blog

Foster care in Maine: Will one dumb politician undo a decade of progress?

UPDATE, MAY 16: Longtime Portland Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz has a great column today about a classic case of Maine's child welfare agency confusing poverty with neglect - a perfect illustration of why the state needs to do more, not less, to curb needless foster care.

I’ve written often about the transformation of child welfare in Maine, and how child safety improved after the state abandoned a take-the-child-and-run approach in favor of one which emphasizes safe, proven programs to keep families together. I’ve written about how the death of Logan Marr, a little girl taken needlessly from her mother only to die at the hands of her foster mother, a former child welfare caseworker, shocked the conscience of the state.

Maine’s reforms have been recognized by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, which made those reforms a finalist for its Innovations in American Government awards. The executive director of Maine’s leading child advocacy organization, the Maine Children’s Alliance, who also serves as the state’s independent child welfare ombudsman, even wrote a guest column for this Blog praising the reforms.

Unfortunately, because child welfare systems are more secret than the CIA, sometimes all it takes is one dumb politician to bring down a decade of reform. Looks like Maine has found its dumb politician, the current governor, Paul LePage. For starters, as Governing magazine reported, LePage got rid of Jim Beougher, the head of the child welfare division at the state Department of Health and Human Services, who led the reform effort.

Now LePage has found a horror story to exploit. In the wake of that case, LePage now says he “feels” that the state has gone too far in reducing entries into care. The state’s largest newspaper, the Portland Press Herald, compounded the error by confusing two sets of numbers, wrongly claiming that entries into care in Maine have been cut in half. They have not.

Here are the facts, and how they stack up against LePage’s “feeling.”

  • No state can prevent every child abuse death. Though each is the worst form of tragedy let us be grateful that the number is low enough, especially in a small state like Maine, that the number can rise or fall due to random chance. That’s why the federal government uses a different measure: the percentage of children reabused in any way within six months after their cases become “known to the system.”

    Since Maine began its reforms in 2003, that percentage has declined by 20 percent. In other words, with caseworkers spending less time on false allegations and trivial cases, they have found more children in real danger, and made Maine’s children safer – not safe enough, but safer than they were during the era of take-the-child-and-run; the era to which LePage apparently wants to return.

  • The claim that the number of children removed from their homes in Maine has declined by 50 percent is flat-out false; and all it takes is two clicks of a mouse to prove it.

    Every state must report these data to the federal government. In Maine, the number of children removed over the course of a year peaked at 1,052 in 2000 and 1,047 in 2001. Click here to see for yourself. The number of removals fell after Logan Marr died, and after the PBS series Frontline exposed the failure of Maine’s former take-the-child- and-run approach to the entire nation. In 2010, the most recent year for which data are available, 760 children were taken from their families in Maine. Again, click to see for yourself.

    So yes, over the course of a decade, entries declined, as they should – but by about 27 percent, not 50 percent.

  • As can be seen by clicking on those same links, the number that fell by about 50 percent is the number of children trapped in foster care on Sept. 30 of each year. But that number can rise or fall for reasons totally unrelated to whether children are taken away in the first place.

    Children taken more than a decade ago, during the heyday of Maine’s take-the-child-and-run fanaticism, may simply “age out” of the system with no place to go. Other children, like the suspect in the current tragedy, himself a former foster child allegedly abused in foster care, are adopted. This “snapshot number” is important, but it tells you nothing about whether a state is doing more to keep children out of the system in the first place.

  • NCCPR compares the propensity of states to take children from their homes by comparing entries into care to the number of impoverished children living in each state. By that standard, Maine still takes away children at a rate slightly above the national average. In other words, if anything, the reforms in Maine haven’t gone far enough.

    Maine also has made great progress in where it places children when they really do need to be taken from their homes.

  • Study after study has found that, when a child really must be taken from her or his home, placing that child with relatives is more stable, better for children’s well-being, and most important, safer than what should properly be called “stranger care.” Back when Logan Marr died, Maine had one of the worst records in the nation for kinship care. Now, Maine uses kinship care at a rate slightly above the national average, though still behind the national leaders. (Details are in NCCPR’s interactive database.)
  • Maine’s greatest success has been in dramatically reducing the worst form of care, the use of group homes and institutions. The proportion of children trapped in so-called congregate care has been cut by at least 73 percent. (Again, details are in NCCPR’s interactive database.)

    But, of course, that means the reform effort made powerful enemies – the people who ran all those group homes and institutions that had to cut back or close entirely. That foster care-industrial complex apparently has the governor’s ear in a way that vulnerable children do not.

Finally, one more number: 15,000. As I’ve noted often on this Blog, that’s the number of cases examined in two massive studies of how children fared in typical cases seen by workers for child protective services agencies. In those typical cases the children left in their own homes typically fared better even than comparably-maltreated children placed in foster care.

That doesn’t mean no child ever should be taken from her or his home. Rather, it means that foster care is an extremely toxic intervention that should be used sparingly and in small doses. A little girl named Logan Marr had to lose her life before Maine learned that lesson. To forget that lesson now would be like spitting on her grave.

Source: Richard Wexler blog

Addendum: A chart published January 26, 2013 in the Maine Sunday Telegram shows how rapidly the progress in Maine has been reversed.

Addendum: Another chart published March 24, 2013 by the Maine Sunday Telegram shows the state reversing a decade of progress.

In Bed with CAS

May 23, 2012 permalink

An alert reader has found a family lawyer with a conflict of interest. Barry Bien paractices law in Amherstview, his wife Wendy Bien works for Lennox & Addington Family & Children's Services.



Barry Bien

Amherstview Lawyer

Nearby Cities Kingston lawyers (136), Belleville lawyers (62), Napanee lawyers (13), Trenton lawyers (5), Sydenham lawyers (1), Gananoque lawyers (4)

Barry Bien
77 B Amherest Dr
Amherstview, ON K7N 1H8
(613) 876-7477

Source: Lawyer Network

Wendy Bien

Family Services Worker at Lennox & Addington Family & Children's Services

Ontario, Canada | Public Safety

Family Services Worker at Lennox & Addington Family & Children's Services
Manager, Residential Services at Community Living Kingston
10 connections
Public Profile

Source: Thanks to Curtis Kingston for finding this couple.

conflict of interest

Forgery? Who Cares?

May 23, 2012 permalink

Here is more on the lawsuit by Peter Evans against the CAS and OPP. An earlier criminal case, since dismissed, against Mr Evans began with a letter from a child eventually found to be a forgery. The CAS and OPP are showing no interest in finding out who is responsible for that forgery.



Man suing CAS, OPP and local PSB

TRENTON - The man suing the local Children’s Aid Society and the OPP is now demanding a police investigation into a letter he claims was the basis of sexual assault charges.

Peter Evans is suing both agencies and says he’s being haunted by the CAS and OPP after being acquitted on a series of charges that alleged the assault of a young girl.

Details of the case are laid out in a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed with the Superior Court of Justice in Cobourg earlier this month.

The suit states a hand written note was discovered suggesting a child wanted to share a story regarding past sexual abuse.

Evans was arrested in July, 2009 and charged with criminal harassment, breaking and entering, assault, sexual assault and sexual interference.

Court proceedings began at Provincial Court in Belleville on April 12, 2010. According to the suit, a judge instructed the Crown drop the case as testimony of the alleged victim and her mother “were not credible.”

But the case went ahead in Superior Court of Justice in October, 2011.

During the trial questions were raised about the authenticity of the child’s note.

The court concluded the child had not written the letter. Testimony revealed the child’s mother had lied to authorities.

Less than two weeks later, Evans was acquitted on all charges.

Evans named three individuals in his lawsuit — a teacher, CAS and an OPP constable.

Evans has demanded the OPP launch a criminal investigation into who authored the letter. He sent the request to the OPP’s Professional Standards Bureau. The bureau has referred the matter to the Ontario Police Independent Review Director (OPIRD).

At Monday’s Quinte West Police Service Board meeting, Evans demanded answers as to why his complaint was passed directory to the review board.

“This is a denial of services by the OPP. I’m here to get an investigation,” said Evans. “The OPIRD does not have the power to charge. I’m asking for a police investigation. It was part of the disclosure given to me.”

Evans wasn’t getting many answers.

PSB chairman Jim Alyea said now that the matter is being litigated, the board could not comment. “We’ve been advised not to discuss this,” said Alyea.

Evans wasn't listening.

"This is not under litigation. That was already proven in court," he said. "I bet there's not another case where a request for a criminal investigation has gone directly to the OPIRD."

Evans, who is representing himself, has named the Highland Shores Children’s Aid Society (formerly Hastings Children’s Aid Society) and OPP in the suit. Also named are Trenton Christian School, the Quinte West Police Services Board, the Attorney General, and the Minister of Youth and Children Services.

Evans is alleging the CAS is using “criminal extortion” in order to prevent him from being with his common-law wife and two step children, following his acquittal back in October, 2011.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been proven in court.

The suit alleges a CAS worker told Evans he had a long history of sexual misconduct towards children. It’s also alleged in the suit the CAS worker demanded the removal of Evans' common law wife and two children from their home.

The suit alleges the CAS worker failed to accept the Superior Court ruling. Evans claims the CAS worker told him the CAS is “higher than the criminal court.”

Evans said in order to protect the two children from embarrassment, he complied with the request.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Addendum: Here is the Statement of Claim provided by Mr Evans.

Addendum: More news on Peter Evans from November.



Legal battle between Quinte West man and O.P.P.

The man suing the O.P.P. and the Highland shore Children’s Aid Society stormed out of a recent Quinte West Police Board meeting.

Peter Evans became angry after seeing a review, by the O.P.P., of the allegations against the police officers and other officials.

The O.P.P. concluded that Evans allegations against them and others, regarding a handwritten note, were unfounded due to lack of evidence.

Meanwhile, Evans, who’d been acquitted of break and enter and sexual assault charges last year, says he’ll be filing a statement of claim within the next couple of weeks.

Evans is upping the claim to $12.5 million from $8.5 million, and along with the O.P.P. and Children’s Aid, and others, is suing Quinte West Inspector Mike Reynolds as well.

Source: Quinte News

No Warning

May 23, 2012 permalink

When a foster child is placed in a new home, social workers commonly fail to notify the new family of the child's problems. Today's story does not say whether CAS warned, but an unnamed Niagara Falls woman almost died.



Niagara Falls teen charged with attempted murder

A 16-year-old boy faces attempted murder charges after police say a Niagara Falls woman suffered serious injuries following an altercation with her foster child.

Niagara Regional Police were called to a home on Thorold Stone Rd. shortly after 11 a.m. Tuesday and found a woman suffering from serious injuries.

The woman said she had been attacked with a garden shovel and frying pans and suffered multiple blows to the face, head, arms and body.

Police said the victim was taken to the Greater Niagara General Hospital where she was treated for serious, but non-life threatening injuries.

A further investigation indicated the suspect had fled to the Ajax, Ont. area. He was subsequently apprehended by Durham Regional Police and returned to Niagara.

The suspect, who cannot be named under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, faces charges of attempted murder and failing to comply with a court order.

Source: Niagara Falls Review

Lawyer Shortage

May 22, 2012 permalink

The enclosed article from the Globe and Mail laments the rise of self-representation in Canada's courts, and notes the low quality of that representation. It even expresses the frustration of judges who have to hear the poorly presented advocacy.

The article omits mention of the cause. The law society limits the number of persons who can practice law. When supply is restricted, the marketplace raises the price. At the same time, the lawyers have worked hard to stamp out competition from lower-proced para-legals. The unavoidable result is an increase in the number of litigants who cannot afford any representation.



Mohammad Quader
Mohammad Quader represented himself in a family litigation trial.
Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Price of self-representation weighs on courts

It was easy to tell Mohammad Quader had been acting as his own lawyer in his divorce: He habitually referred to his ex-wife as “the applicant.”

That impression was confirmed when the 40-year-old Bangladeshi immigrant broke into tears as he later described the frustration of filling out documents and making legal arguments in a completely unfamiliar environment.

“I don’t have any legal background, so I don’t know what to say in court,” he said in an interview. “I have to prepare legal documents by myself. I feel totally helpless.”

Mr. Quader is the face of a growing problem for Canada’s family court system. A rising flood of litigants who do not qualify for legal aid lawyers, yet cannot afford one on their own, is costing the system heavily at a time when it is already creaking under the weight of swollen dockets and antiquated information systems.

The first major study on self-representation that compares the views of family judges, lawyers and litigants has found that 50 to 80 per cent of proceedings now involve one or both parties representing themselves – raising the level of courtroom conflict, lengthening proceedings and hurting the chances of reaching pre-trial settlements.

And in an age of easy access to information on the Web and the popularity of shows like CSI and Law and Order, many litigants – mostly men – are choosing to go it alone, convinced they possess strong courtroom skills.

But much of the information available on the Internet is wrong or inapplicable.

“We are reaching a tipping point where, for those in middle-income groups, the norm will be not having a lawyer,” said Queen’s University law professor Nick Bala, who conducted the study with University of Toronto social work professor Rachel Birnbaum. “They are going to say: ‘Why do I have to pay a lawyer if I can get the information for free?’”

For the most part, people represent themselves because they can’t afford a lawyer. But the study pointed toward a significant gender gap: While women almost always represent themselves because they cannot afford a professional help, men self-represent because they are overly confident, or have deep mistrust of a system they see as stacked against them.

“Things like Judge Judy also don’t help,” Prof. Bala said. “Law, procedures and tactics are a very complex undertaking.”

While self-representing may be cost-free to a litigant, it is anything but free in an institutional sense. “There is a court clerk, a court reporter, a judge and the courtroom itself,” Prof. Bala said. “It is actually a very socially expensive kind of ‘free’ resource. This is a major concern to those responsible for the administration of justice.”

While people who choose to represent themselves pose a threat to the system, the group that has no choice represents the courts’ biggest challenge.

In the latest chapter of their divorce litigation, Mr. Quader and his ex-wife, Aktharunessa, argued this week over disclosing financial information.

When his case concludes, Mr. Quader – who is upgrading his education by studying financial accounting – expects to be on the hook for support payments. He will pay them out of his meagre earnings from a part-time job.

One judge who was surveyed for the study went so far as to recommend banning self-represented litigants from the courtroom. He compared the practice to allowing hospital patients into an operating room to perform surgery on themselves.

Source: Globe and Mail

Kidnapped from Kidnappers

May 21, 2012 permalink

Miguel Morin was kidnapped by his babysitter as an infant. This March authorities discovered Miguel at age 8 and arrested his kidnappers. So did they return the boy to his real parents? Of course not. They have placed him in foster care while therapists counselors and social workers are assessing him to determine when he is ready to be told the truth. He will remain in foster care at least until September. There is a reason for foster care not mentioned in the news article: child protectors get per-diem reimbursement from the Texas taxpayers for every day the boy remains in care.



Miguel Morin, Kidnapped As Infant, Not Ready To Meet Parents

Auboni Champion-Morin and Fernando Morin
Miguel Morin, a Texas boy kidnapped by his babysitter as an infant and found at age 8, was ruled not ready to reunite with his parents, Auboni Champion-Morin and Fernando Morin

HOUSTON — A Houston boy kidnapped eight years ago is still not ready to meet his parents after being in foster care since authorities found him in March, Texas child welfare officials said Wednesday during a court hearing.

Officials with Child Protective Services told state District Judge Mike Schneider that a therapist who has been working with 8-year-old Miguel Morin believes the boy is not yet ready to be told who his parents are or to have visits with them. Authorities allege Miguel was taken as an infant, and his baby sitter and her mother are now jailed on kidnapping charges.

The boy will remain in the state's care at least until a Sept. 12 hearing, said Estella Olguin, a spokeswoman for CPS in Houston.

"His parents have gotten photographs (of the boy) and bought him toys and clothes to be given to a caseworker to provide to him," Olguin said.

CPS officials said there are a few options for Miguel's living arrangements: He could be reunited with his parents Auboni Champion-Morin and Fernando Morin, live with another family member or live with a Houston couple who are taking care of the Morins' four other children under an agreement between the couples.

Olguin said CPS plans to conduct a review of the home of Juanita and Joseph Aguillard, where the Morins' other children, ages 7 to 14, are living, to see if it would be a good environment for Miguel. Juanita Aguillard said she had a bed ready for Miguel in case he comes to live in her home.

Mark Cooper, an attorney for Miguel's father, said the boy's parents "are holding up well."

"They are understanding of the process and they are engaged in their therapy," Cooper said. Judge Schneider had previously ordered Miguel and his parents to undergo therapy.

Olguin said the Morins, who live in Houston and are both 29, are being cooperative with child welfare officials.

"They are going to group counseling, couple's counseling. They are attending meetings with CPS and other family members to come up with a plan for Miguel and see what's in his best interest," she said.

The boy has been in foster care since authorities found him in March living in East Texas with Krystle Tanner, who had been Miguel's baby sitter in Houston. Investigators believe she kidnapped the boy in 2004 when he was just 8 months old and concealed his identity for years.

Tanner and her mother, Gloria Walker, each have been charged with kidnapping and injury to a child. They have pleaded not guilty and remain jailed in San Augustine, about 140 miles northeast of Houston.

Authorities allege Tanner and her mother hid Miguel in homes in Central and East Texas, kept him out of school and didn't call him by his given name, instead renaming him Jaquan. The boy, not knowing his true identity, called Tanner his mother and Walker grandmother, investigators said.

Source: Huffington Post

Addendum: As of January 2013, the boy is still in foster care.



Kidnapped Texas boy to be reunited with family

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas boy who was kidnapped as a baby will be reunited with his siblings.

A judge in Houston ruled Wednesday that 8-year-old Miguel Morin should be removed from foster care and given to a couple caring for his four siblings. The boy has been in foster care since authorities found him in March living in East Texas with his former baby sitter.

Child Protective Services officials say their goal remains to eventually have Miguel live with his real parents but more review is needed.

Meanwhile, Miguel is expected to reunite with his siblings by Friday after paperwork is completed. Another couple has been taking care of them under an agreement with the parents.

The boy's former baby sitter and her mother are charged with kidnapping.

Source: Houston Chronicle

On January 9, 2012 a judge ordered Miguel to return to his family on January 11.

Shrinks Blast Reunification

May 21, 2012 permalink

Here is the latest tool in the effort by social workers to prevent adopted families from reunifying: the claim that when they reunite, they will love each other too much. In this article showing only the dangers, and not the joys, there is no mention of the larger danger of persons falling in love without realizing they are biological relatives. [1] [2].



Adoptees Who Reunite With Lost Parent Risk Genetic Sexual Attraction

Julie DeNeen and Carly Sullens
Julie DeNeen and Carly Sullens both had inappropriate relationships with their biological fathers that nearly destroyed their families.
(Courtesy of Carly Sullens)

Julie DeNeen was raised by her biological mother and a step-father who adopted her after DeNeen's birth father relinquished his legal rights. But she yearned for the father she never knew, wondering why he abandoned her.

"I had no picture and no contact with my biological father," said DeNeen, now 31 and married with three children in Clinton, Conn. "I hardly knew he existed."

At 13, DeNeen sought out and found her father, but after a few visits they grew apart. "I viewed him as a strange relative," she said "I wasn't prepared … and it was just awkward."

But in 2011, again obsessing over her family roots and wanting her children -- 8, 6 and 5 – to know their grandfather, DeNeen wrote him a letter, telling him she was sorry "I had fallen off the planet" and that she loved him and wanted him to "be a father figure in my life."

So they reconnected, but what evolved was far from a healthy father-daughter relationship – amidst her grief and longing, sexual sparks flew and it nearly destroyed her 10-year marriage and a fragile new bond with her biological father.

"I realized how similar we were … We could finish each other's sentences," she said. "It was a combination of elations. And there was the adrenaline and on top of the grief, thinking why can't you go back in time. And in that combination of grief and need and feeling that you fit with someone, you get a concoction that made things very confusing."

"I had this strange falling in love feeling, holding my Dad's hand," said DeNeen. "It wasn't like a daughter, it was like something else."

That something else was genetic sexual attraction or GSA.

Psychologists say that taboo is normally in place when family members grow up in close proximity by virtue of reverse sexual imprinting, or the Westermarck effect, which desensitizes them to later sexual attraction. Researchers hypothesize it evolved so biological relatives would not inbreed.

The phenomenon was first identified by Barbara Gonyo in the 1980s. She wrote a book, "I'm His Mother, But He's Not My Son," that recounted her personal story of reuniting and having sexual feelings for a son whom she had placed for adoption when she was 16. Gonyo fell in love -- a byproduct of delayed bonding that would normally have taken place in infancy, had they not been separated by adoption.

Gonyo, now a retired grandmother, created an online support group and DeNeen, who has a background in psychology, has taken up her work on a new website that she launched just two weeks ago, educating and intervening when others fall into the dangerous emotional trap of GSA.

When family members who are strangers finally meet as adults, the brain struggles to associate each other as family and, instead, they become "captivated" with one another, according to DeNeen.

"Parent and child go through a very complex bonding process from the beginning of life to the first six years," she said. "They go through phases and in the teen years, they separate. That whole process goes dormant until they reunite as adults. It's almost like it awakens back the recognition in that the other person is a mirror of yourself."

DeNeen said she felt like she was regressing back to childhood, falling in love and looking to her dad as a hero. "I felt a lot of need for intimacy," she said. "The lines were so blurry."

But she makes it clear that she never had sexual intercourse with her father, even though the relationship was "very inappropriate." And like others who experience GSA, she crossed physical boundaries that were "embarrassing, confusing, amazing and overwhelming,"

GSA is "not incredibly common," but is seen among parents and adult children and between adult siblings, according to Susan Brancho Alvarado, an adoption therapist from Falls Church, Va.

Many Therapists Are Unfamiliar With GSA

And because of that, mental health experts are not experienced in helping patients. They often mistakenly confuse GSA with incest or sexual abuse, shaming adoptees.

"They just don't have the training and the topic is completely foreign," she said.

Alvarado, who has treated four families with GSA, also blames the adoption process itself.

"It fuels the secrecy and builds up the fantasy about what the other family might be like," she said. "It is mitigated when you have open access to records and birth certificates and the family from infancy is included."

The parent is often as smitten as the child, experiencing these feelings for the first time, and is rarely a sexual predator, according to Alvarado. But the imbalance of power makes the adult child more vulnerable to manipulation.

In DeNeen's case, her feelings "stoked the fire" in her father. "I wasn't aware at the beginning. When I said, 'I love you so much, Dad,' it didn't dawn on me the kind of confusion it would create in his mind. He was feeling the need to bond, too and the only way as an adult is through sexual intimacy."

Those with GSA can be healed, according to Alvarado, and the relationship can continue with nonjudgmental therapy and "normalization" of their feelings -- just in a different form.

DeNeen credits Carly Sullens, another adoptee who was writing a blog on the genetic sexual attraction website about her own birth father, for giving her the courage to seek help.

Together, they have now created an interactive online forum for others, hoping to give them the tools and to intervene before it is too late. So far, the blog has more than 50,000 views and 40 members struggling with GSA have subscribed to the forum.

Sullens, a 39-year-old art therapist and childbirth educator from Florida, embarked on a similarly forbidden relationship with her biological father about the same time as DeNeen. After discovering each other online, they became close friends.

"GSA doesn't just affect the two people, but the whole family system," said Sullens, who was in a 10-year loving relationship with her husband and had two children, now 6 and 9.

"It's not that I had a bad upbringing or wasn't able to attach to my adopted parents – I did, very much so," she said. "That's why it's so confusing when it happens."

Sullens was adopted at the age of 4 months. Her father died several years ago and just last year, her mother was diagnosed with a painful cancer. As she made visits to her dying mother, Sullens was drawn to seek out her birth father, who lived in the same town.

"Something just snapped and broke in me," she said. "I felt the urge to attach to him, much like a young child would. I thought it would make everything better."

"He did everything a good parent would and said, 'I will be there for you and if there is anything you need, let me know," said Sullens. "He was very convincing and supportive. I think I overly attached, wanting to keep my grief at bay."

Sullens said that like DeNeen, she never had sex with her father, but their interactions were also "inappropriate."

"I wanted to sit with him like a little girl with her dad," she said. "I remember falling into his arms. And when I was close to him my body would physically respond. It was not always arousal, but as someone who was adopted, I never was near my genealogy and it was almost as if there was a relaxation response."

Sullens said her actions were so out of character. "I have never looked at a man outside marriage and never wanted to," she said. "But all the old wounds flew open and I lost my footing."

The relationship lasted only a couple months, when she realized "it wasn't right," Sullens began scouring the Internet for answers and began to blog on Gonyo's online forum. DeNeen, going through the same experience, found Sullens and they realized they weren't alone.

For Sullens, the experience ended in trauma, losing her father and all of her biological relatives for a second time. Every time she broached the topic of GSA and urged her father to seek help, he would "close the door and stop talking to me for weeks."

"Eventually, he cleaned the slate and blamed everything on me," she said. 'He didn't take any part of the responsibility and then he threw me under the bus to everyone … In my heart, the most painful part of my story is the rejection. I look back and even the other parts look sick, but don't hurt me as much as the rejection."

Today, she has no relationship with her father or her half-siblings and a full sister. But, with DeNeen, she reaches out to help others. In their first public appearance, they appeared in May on the Dr. Drew show.

"GSA is such a vortex and you lose your sense of reality – your true north is gone," said Sullens. "If someone doesn't wish to reground, they get lost quickly. Julie and I did it for each other … "Now we want to provide this to others."

With hard work in therapy and support from each other, both their marriages have survived the tumult.

DeNeen was honest with her husband from the start and said when she began to feel "cut in half," she persuaded her father to go into intense therapy. She did the same.

"Part of our message is that it is very normal to have those feelings, but when you take those feelings and act on them, it can be incredibly destructive and very traumatic for both parties," she said. "It's a very difficult road."

Surprisingly, DeNeen has been able to keep the healthy side of her relationship with her father alive -- a feat that is rare among those who have experienced GSA.

They only talk by telephone today, but plan to see each other again – always with others present.

"We have tried to work through all the issues that propelled us into this toxic situation," said DeNeen. "I think it's very possible we can have a normal father-daughter relationship if we are willing to work at it. It's rare, but possible."

Source: ABC News

No One Speaks for the Dead

May 20, 2012 permalink

About a hundred children a year die after CAS becomes involved in their lives, yet in the last five years only the Matthew Reid case has resulted in an inquest. That was one where the Welland Tribune published the boy's name before CAS could request anonymity. In a decade a thousand children have died without names or public inquiry of any kind. Today's article from the Ottawa Citizen shows that the coroner's inquest is an institution that is dying through lack of use.



Who will speak for Eric?

Eric Leighton
Pallbearers carry the casket of Eric Leighton St. Patrick’s Church in Fallowfield. Leighton was killed in a shop-class explosion at Mother Teresa Catholic High School in May 2011.
Photograph by: Wayne Cuddington , Ottawa Citizen

The coroner’s inquest in Ontario is almost dead, in need of its own services.

In 2001, there were 78 inquests across the province — 53 were mandatory and 25 were discretionary. In 2011, there were only 34 inquests, with just six being discretionary.

Some years in between were even quieter. In 2009 — how could this be possible? — there was one so-called discretionary inquest in all of Ontario. One.

(The difference between the two is that some deaths, such as those that occur on construction sites or sometimes in prisons, call for automatic inquests. Others are left to the judgment of the coroner’s office, which needs to decide if there is sufficient public interest at stake for a full-blown hearing.)

Against that backdrop, we arrive at this unsatisfactory state of affairs: How is it possible that a construction worker who dies in a backhoe accident will be the subject of a coroner’s inquest, but a high school student killed in an explosion during shop class is not?

So sits the case of Eric Leighton, the Grade 12 student fatally injured at Mother Teresa High School as he was cutting open a steel barrel in shop class, only days from graduation. May 26 is the one-year anniversary. How much longer must the family wait for answers?

Dr. Roger Skinner is the supervising coroner for the Ontario east region, overseeing the work of about 40 other coroners, most of them part-time.

He is well aware of the Leighton case and says he’s yet to decide whether to hold an inquest.

The main outstanding matter at this point, he said, is the court case involving the Ministry of Labour and the Ottawa Catholic District School Board.

The board is facing three charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and was also charged under the provincial fire code. The penalties consist of fines.

“We don’t make any definite decisions until all matters in front of the court are complete,” said Dr. Skinner, even if that process takes many months, or years.

“In this situation, one of the things we will consider is the broader safety (issue) within the province and maybe beyond.”

It sometimes happens, he explained, that issues involving public safety and trust are fully explored in other “parallel” investigations, making an inquest unnecessary.

Well, in the interests of generating discussion, this is a case that rather screams for a public inquest, is it not?

A Ministry of Labour investigation sounds like an inquiry that looks at the relationship between an employer, the board, and its employee, the teacher, and the “workplace” or classroom.

Eric was not an employee of the board. He was a student and an innocent victim.

School boards, surely, have no more important priority than to provide an environment safe for students to learn and explore in. The actual instruction is secondary to Job One: learning conditions cannot be hazardous — our kids need to come home in one piece.

Obviously, the board failed in its primary responsibility. And we keep saying “the board” as though it were an entity capable of personal responsibility. It isn’t.

Painful as it may be, the family needs to hear directly from the teacher involved, his supervisor at school, other students, and any other relevant person or authority. This is owed to them.

The Leightons don’t need to read a negotiated guilty plea between the ministry and the board, which is possibly the outcome of the court case.

The family is also in the unwelcome position of getting news about this case by reading newspapers. This is just wrong.

It was left to the Citizen, for instance, the find out the 45-gallon barrel in question came from an agricultural manufacturer in Williamsburg, Ont., that produces a cream for the dairy industry. One of its ingredients is peppermint oil, the residue of which can be explosive with the right mixture with air.

It has been plausibly suggested the barrel Eric was cutting that day had not been properly cleaned, creating the dangerous conditions present when he began cutting. Absent a coroner’s inquest, can anyone in Ontario today offer an assurance that no happy, curly-haired kid this May, in some shop class in some small town, is not going to be cutting open another steel barrel to make a large barbecue?

And if we’ve lost the appetite for coroner’s inquests in Ontario, do we need some other forum for fatalities that occur outside the criminal realm?

The family is planning to put a gravestone on Eric’s remains next weekend. So does it never end for them.

Many hands wrote his epitaph. We need to hear their voices; not to blame, but to understand.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Compensation for Child Removal

May 19, 2012 permalink

California parents Darlene and Larry McCue are getting over a million dollars compensation from Kern County because their son was wrongfully removed.



County hands over $1 million dollars to family whose son was taken by Child Protective Services

Kern County is handing over one million dollars to a family in the Weldon area for wrongfully taking their son out of their home in 2008. The dispute started between the child's school, South Fork Elementary School and parents over what their kid could eat. While the school can't comment on the case until the settlement is signed; attorneys on both sides are talking about the bigger issues being brought out by this case.

"They are relieved that the case is resolved, they are relieved that at least financially they are put back in a position where they were before this all happened," said Shawn McMillan attorney for Darlene and Larry McCue. McMillan says the McCue's spent every penny they had to get their son back through juvenile court proceedings. McMillan says his clients are now picking up the pieces of their lives after the four year court case has ended, with the McCue's winning a million dollar settlement from Kern County.

"I think it's a fair result under the circumstances considering what they had spent," said County Attorney, Mark Nations. According to the county the whole situation started in 2008 when McCue brought up allergy concerns with her 7 year old son's school. "He had a nut allergy and she did not feel the school had adequately addressed it," said Nations. According to county counsel, the boy's parents insisted on extensive medical testing which is what initially lead to questions about the boy’s safety. "We got a referral from UCLA Medical Center indicating that they were concerned that a parent was perhaps exaggerating the conditions of a child and receiving unnecessary medical care," explained Nations.

The county acted on that referral and after an investigation by CPS and the Kern County Sheriff's Department, the boy was taken from his parent's home for four months. Later, a juvenile judge ruled that there was no evidence that the boy was in danger. "There is a lot of frustration there is a lot of anger and understandably so. Mrs. McCue is still angry at the county," said McMillan the McCue family attorney.

Child Protective Services is now working on a new policy that would require social workers to get a warrant from a judge before they can take a child from their home. "This is the first case of this kind that we've ever had in the county, it's helped us evaluate the way we do things," said Nations. The family's attorney also responded with positive outlook on the proposed policies. "Kern County is a shining beacon of hope in this state because they are really trying to make an effort to change some things," said McMillan.

Still no word on when CPS is going to change their policies to include a warrant, but the county tells us that ball is already rolling on that issue. We'll let you know what happens next.

Source: KBAK/KBFX Bakersfield,

Kingston Rally

May 18, 2012 permalink

Curtis Kingston Just to let everyone know, the rally in Kingston today went great. We were able to get over 250 signatures for the ombudsman petition and we raised the awareness to the residents of Kingston. Thanks to everyone for all of your help, without everyone this would not be possible. The video from this rally will be posted at some point in the next few days.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Photos: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7].

Source: Facebook

Any Other Reason

May 18, 2012 permalink

John Hemming points out that children leaving care are not even counted, at least in public reports. Under reason for leaving care a large portion are grouped in the meaningless category "any other reason".




John Hemming
Lib Dem John Hemming, who is an expert in statistics

NINE men have been arrested in connection with a suspected second child grooming gang in Rochdale.

The girl is said to be one of 47 questioned by police in relation to an earlier child sexual exploitation ring in the town.

That case was concluded on Wednesday when nine Asian men received jail sentences of between four and 19 years for sexual offences against five young white teenagers, one of whom was in council care.

Greater Manchester Police said all of the men in the latest batch of arrests on Friday had been bailed. They are aged between 24 and 38.

The arrests came as one MP warned last night that a “dreadfully complacent” attitude on the part of the Government meant Rochdale could just be the tip of the iceberg.

John Hemming, an expert in statistics, said hundreds of ­vulnerable children who had been in local authority care might have been abducted and trafficked by child grooming gangs.

He said there was a black hole in figures provided for Whitehall every year by local authorities. Social services are required to provide returns giving the number of children in council care and the reasons why they leave care.

Categories in the returns include “placed for adoption”, “died” or “returned to family”. However, significant numbers are falling into a catch-all box labelled “any other reason”.

Mr Hemming, a Lib Dem MP who chairs the Justice for Families campaign, said such a broad category can prevent officials from sounding alerts.

He analysed figures for 2011 and found that of the 25,000 children who left care last year, 5,950 were listed in the “other reasons” category.

Most of these, 4,360, were aged between 16 and 18, Mr Hemming pointed out, while 630 were 10 to 15-year-olds. He said he was “not really happy about teenagers leaving care” without any clear idea about what is happening to them.

He added: “Have they run away, are they being abducted? With the 10 to 15-year-olds there is a good chance some are being trafficked and this could be the case with the younger ones.

“They are happy to count the money and make sure they know where the money is, but they are unwilling to check where the children are.”

However, when Mr ­Hemming asked Education Minister Tim Loughton whether he would reform the statistics to provide more details for the “other reasons” category, he was told it would be too bureaucratic. Before last week’s details of the Rochdale scandal emerged, Mr Loughton told the House of Commons: “The Department for Education has no plans to expand the codes under which local authorities provide statistical returns on children ­missing from care.

“This will lead to an unnecessary increase in reporting requirements. It is the responsibility of local authorities to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children in care and they will hold more detailed information on each child who has gone missing from their care.”

However, after the outcry over Rochdale Mr Loughton did highlight the importance of statistics and called for more consistency between the data collected by police and local authorities.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “There is clear statutory guidance for children’s homes.

“They must have strong ­procedures in place to protect and prevent young people from running away from care.

“In light of Rochdale, we will look at this again.”

Source: Daily Express (UK)

Buzz Bee

May 18, 2012 permalink

General Mills has revealed that its Buzz Bee cartoon character, used to promote Honey Nut Cheerios, suffered abuse at the hands of foster parents.



General Mills Gives Honey Nut Cheerios Bee Intense Backstory Of Childhood Foster Home Abuse In Bizarre Rebranding Effort

Buzz Bee
General Mills reps say customers will enjoy learning all about BuzzBee’s adult struggles with emotional intimacy.

MINNEAPOLIS—In an unsettling attempt to increase brand visibility and broaden its demographic appeal, the General Mills corporation unveiled a new backstory for its iconic Honey Nut Cheerios bee character Monday, giving the cartoon insect a traumatic personal history of childhood abuse in a foster home.

Calling the psychologically intense new narrative a "fresh and interesting twist on a beloved character," General Mills said it would unveil a series of TV, web, and print ads relating, often in graphic detail, the Honey Nut Cheerios mascot's separation from his drug-addicted parents at a young age, as well as his near-constant emotional and physical suffering at the hands of a controlling, fundamentalist Christian foster father.

“Our customers have always loved [Honey Nut Cheerios mascot] BuzzBee, and we figured such an iconic character deserved a rich backstory that people would enjoy following along with,” said General Mills representative Gina Ripp, adding that the animated bee's cheerful appearance would remain the same, but would mask "deep inner turmoil stemming from the crucial early years of his personal development." “He still loves Honey Nut Cheerios, with its 12 essential vitamins and minerals, but now his love is complicated, perhaps fed, by the feelings of self-hatred he acquired as a ritually abused foster child in suburban Indiana."

Buzz Bee
Kids and adults alike are being encouraged by General Mills to play “very amusing” games such as this.

In a commercial now airing nationally, the public gets its first glimpse of the reimagined mascot’s troubled past as he explains to a family that they should enjoy a breakfast of Honey Nut Cheerios because sweet honey and oats are what he used to distract his mind with whenever his foster father, Ray, would make BuzzBee face the basement wall and receive lashes across his back and wings with a length of cable wire. The family in the commercial then eats the cereal, greatly improving the bee’s mood.

According to company reps, subsequent ads will contain details about BuzzBee's submissive foster mother's refusal to acknowledge the abuse, his first nonconsensual sexual experiences involving his imposing older foster brother Craig, the 3 grams of healthy soluble fiber in Honey Nut Cheerios, and his struggles with emotional and physical intimacy as an adult.

“We're planning to roll out his story with a series of ads over the next three years, which makes sense character-wise, because clearly someone this damaged would never vent his psychosexual wreckage all at once; he's too repressed,” Ripp said of the colorful cartoon bee used to advertise the honey-and-almond-flavored breakfast cereal. “Besides, I think people will look forward to a long journey of really getting to know him slowly over time."

"And it will really pay off when we reveal that BuzzBee started self-medicating heavily in high school," Ripp added.

The company also excitedly announced a series of new Honey Nut Cheerios box designs featuring stories and puzzles relating to the revamped character arc, including a maze game in which BuzzBee must escape to a classmate's hive on the other side of town when he fears his foster father is going to come home from work angry that night, as well as a word scramble in which one must find the "happy word" BuzzBee would tearfully whisper to himself whenever he heard his foster father's footsteps on the basement stairs.

So far, customer reaction to BuzzBee’s rebranding has been mixed. In a poll of consumers, a majority found the insect’s often wrenching biography to be odd and upsetting, while others were simply confused as to why a backstory was necessary at all.

"I guess I've always just eaten the cereal without really thinking about what the bee guy's backstory was,” Honey Nut Cheerios consumer Brandon Faulkner said. “If anything, I assumed he was just, like, a bee who liked honey or something, not whatever this weird new story is."

"But the cereal still tastes good,” Faulkner added.

At press time, General Mills confirmed it would take the same approach with Cinnamon Toast Crunch, explaining that the disappearance of the second and third chef mascots was a result of fratricide by the first.

Source: The Onion

Buzz Bee supports ombudsman oversight

Picton Sex Testimony

May 18, 2012 permalink

Two former foster girls have testified against their foster father, saying he demanded oral sex from them when they were ages nine and ten.



Graphic testimony at trial

PICTON - Editor's note: This story contains graphic testimony and may not be suitable for all readers.

It took five years before police laid charges against a county foster parent, despite consecutive sexual assault accusations from two girls removed from his care just months apart.

Both girls testified to filing sexual abuse complaints to the Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society in 2005, but no charges resulted from the disturbing allegations levied against their former foster father, a Picton jury heard Wednesday.

The court heard that allegations from one of the girls, now 18-years-old, was thrown out by police and the county child welfare agency, after medical evidence showed that the accused had surgery that left him physically unable to ejaculate, while she claimed his penis ejected fluids during one of their numerous sexual encounters.

The second girl told the jury that, in 2005, she too informed CAS officials about having sex with the accused several times, during her six-month 2004 stint at the home of the accused, who relocated from Wellington to Bloomfield during her stay.

The three complainants, now in their late teens, cannot be named because of a court-imposed publication ban restricting the release of any information that would identify them.

The embargo also extends to the name of the 72-year-old accused, who stands charged with three counts each of sexual assault, sexual exploitation and invitation to sexual touching.

Lawyers say the ban could be lifted to allow the media to publish the name of the accused later in the trial, which is scheduled for four weeks.

The accused was charged in October 2010 for sexually abusing the girls who were nine and 10 when the acts were alleged to have occurred.

A Picton jury sat through hours of graphic revelations from the two girls, one of whom shared her ordeal at the Wellington home, eight years ago, on Tuesday.

The panel also witnessed emotional breakdowns from both witnesses who became overwhelmed while sharing sex-laced revelations.

Defence lawyer Mike Pretsell dedicated his Wednesday morning cross-examination to boring holes in the testimony of the first of three girls to take the stand.

The 18-year-old denied his accusation that she fabricated the story to shield her from being plucked from her mother's home and thrown back into CAS care in 2004, the year she left the Wellington home of the accused.

Pretsell also scrutinized her hazy recollection and prior inconsistent statements to police where she made no mention of oral sex, but those allegations were in her testimony at trial. The Belleville lawyer also attacked her memory of how and when the abuse happened.

“I didn't want to talk about it,” she said, about her reason for not being forthcoming to police. “I remember it now.”

The second girl to testify said she first mentioned the accusations to a child welfare lawyer in 2005, who brought it to the attention of the CAS. Now 17-years-old, she testified to having sex with the accused at least five to six times during her brief stay.

She described one instance where “he laid me down and held my arms,” before the sex and another in her bedroom where “he had sexual intercourse with me and left.” The complainant recalled the accused mentioning that “he couldn't have kids because he was fixed.”

This is the second trial, in less than a year, that involves allegations of sex crimes being levied against foster parents who had children place in their care by the county agency. A couple was sentenced in the fall to seven years combined for similar crimes.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Addendum: The accused testifies he continued as a foster parent because he needed the money.



Foster parent: We needed the money

PICTON - Mounting debt motivated a county foster parent to continue caring for young girls even after two claimed he sexually assaulted them in 2005.

While insisting that financial gain never fuelled his interest in foster parenting, the accused admitted that he became increasingly dependent on the monthly cheques from the child welfare office, after overspending sunk the family into debt.

“We thought we would have them for the rest of our lives,” he said. “I wanted to adopt them. I wanted to walk them down the isle.”

A Picton jury heard how the foster father splurged on multiple family vacations, including seven cruises and purchased extravagant gifts such as three individual rings, that cost $800 each, for three girls ages nine and 10, placed in his care by the Prince Edward County Children's Aid Society.

“Through the whole time we were always in a hole,” he said. “We always spent more than the allowances. We had to keep taking kids to generate money to pay back what we spent.”

The CAS allotted allowances including up $65 per month for clothes for each child and a $40 weekly stipend (per child) soon became insufficient to cover soaring expenses for the couple who fostered more than a dozen children up until 2010.

The grey-haired 71-year-old said, in retrospect, he probably erred in his decision to continue offering foster care up until he was charged in 2010 — even after two girls who stayed at his Wellington home in 2004 accused him of molestation and prodding them to partake in sexual inappropriate activity.

“I needed the money,” he told Crown attorney Jodi Whyte, who commenced her cross-examination Thursday afternoon.

A court-imposed publication ban blocks the media from releasing any information that could identify the complainants.

The embargo also extends to the name of the accused, who stands charged with three counts each of sexual assault, sexual exploitation and invitation to sexual touching.

The court already heard that the other two complainants, who left the home just months apart in 2004, both filed sexual abuse complaints to police and the CAS in 2005, but no charges resulted from the allegations. No charges were laid until the third girl claimed she too had sex numerous times with the accused.

The jury has already heard from the three complainants, who exposed numerous instances of alleged sexual abuse, including disturbing accusations from one complainant that she engaged in more than 100 sexual acts with her former foster father.

“I kept getting warned by the CAS about that (providing foster care),” said the accused, who became a foster parent with his wife in 2003.

The accused has denied all allegations, claiming he was unable to have sex due to a1995 prostate cancer surgery.

The jury also watched an excerpt from a video statement captured at the Prince Edward County OPP detachment in October 2010, where the accused refused to capitulate to the suggestions of OPP Sgt. Jim Smith, a police officer renowned for extracting a confession from the disgraced Russell Williams.

The officer even resorted to trickery by concocting a story about a video recorder being used by one of the girls to capture the alleged sexual acts. But the accused denied those claims, calling them a lie.

“I have nothing to regret or feel bad about,” he said. “There's nothing to show.”

Whyte will continue her cross-examination today. The court is also expected to hear from CAS officials including, Bill Sweet, the head of the agency.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Addendum: Convicted on June 6.

Lavigueur Exonerated

May 18, 2012 permalink

The sexual misconduct allegations against foster parent Maurice Lavigueur have come to court. The preliminary hearing morphed into a trial when it appeared there was no evidence supporting the charges, and all charges were dismissed.

In view of the court outcome, and the comment by Pat Niagara after the Welland Tribune article, Mr Lavigueur should be treated as a man falsely accused. (CAS is good at that, even with their own allies!). Fixcas has removed two parody posters of Mr Lavigueur from this website. If you made a copy in another public place, please remove it. Fixcas apologizes to Mr Lavigueur for holding him up to ridicule for a year.



Charges against foster parent dismissed

Maurice Lavigueur
Maurice Lavigueur


All criminal charges laid against a longtime Welland foster parent for Family and Children’s Services Niagara have been dismissed.

Maurice Lavigueur was arrested and charged on Jan. 6, 2011, with two counts each of sexual assault, sexual exploitation and juvenile prostitution.

Less than a week later, police laid additional single counts of sexual assault, sexual exploitation and juvenile prostitution after a second complainant came forward.

The matter was resolved May 4 in a St. Catharines courtroom and all charges against Lavigueur were dismissed.

What began as a preliminary hearing for the case was converted to a trial and the case then proceeded on a trial basis, said Lavigueur’s St. Catharines attorney, Mike Delgobbo.

Mid-way through the second complainant’s allegations, the Crown asked the court to dismiss the charges, Delgobbo said.

“He’s very relieved that it’s over,” he said on behalf of his client.

A peace bond was issued, with Lavigueur agreeing not to have any contact with the two complainants.

“That is not an acknowledgement of the offences,” Delgobbo said, adding that was a fact added on record during the court proceedings.

Also put on record, Delgobbo said, was evidence that would have disputed the claims had the trial continued, including at least four character witnesses.

“He was in a horrible position, very vulnerable,” Delgobbo said of his client, who acted as a foster parent for many years, welcoming many children into his home.

According to a Tribune story published in 2008, Lavigueur and wife Lynne have been foster parents to nearly 90 children over the past 20 years in their Welland home.

In 2008, the Lavigueur family was presented a special certificate and plaque from FACS for being outstanding foster parents.

The Lavigueurs even acted as instructors for future foster parents, Delgobbo said.

“He had a lot of support, extraordinary support from his previous foster kids,” Delgobbo said of his client.

“That reflects the type of person he is, in my opinion.”

According to Niagara Regional Police, charges will not be laid against the complainants.

No information on the complainants has been released.

Source: Welland Tribune

Pat Niagara ★ The man above in the photo "Maurice Lavigueur" of Welland, Ontario may vary well be a INNOCENT MAN. This man is from our area, both Bobbie and I have run into a number of kids who had Maurice as a foster parent and all of these kids had noting but good things to say about Maurice. Because of that we have stopped using Maurice's "I AM YOUR CHILDREN'S AID" poster at our rallies because of the info we have uncovered. ★

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

Wexler Returns

May 18, 2012 permalink

Richard Wexler, who announced his retirement in March, is back advocating for reform of child protection. In an editorial he exposes how the press colludes with child protectors by selectively printing cases in which a child could have benefited from more intervention, while omitting the far more numerous cases in which a child is harmed by removal from caring, though often poor, parents.



Commentary: Wisconsin officials still 'in denial' of child welfare failures

Thirty-five years ago, as a young reporter for Wisconsin Public Radio, I produced a series of reports on child abuse and foster care. I was stunned to find that what was then the state Department of Health and Social Services didn't even know how many children were in foster care or how long they stayed in care. We had to send out our own survey to all 72 counties.

Today, the data gathering has improved – in part because federal aid depends on it. But reading John Elliott, from what is now the Department of Children and Families, respond to Gannett Wisconsin Media's stories about child abuse by claiming there is not necessarily a crisis, or even a problem, suggests a state still "in denial" about how much remains to be done.

Fortunately, something else has changed in 35 years: We know a lot more about what really works to prevent child welfare tragedies. It boils down to this: Listen to your gut instinct – and do the opposite.

Gut instinct says: In case after case examined by Gannett Wisconsin Media, the state itself found that county child welfare agencies didn't do enough and left children in danger – so if the counties just rush to take away more children everything will be fine.

But that's actually been Wisconsin's approach for decades. Indeed, now that we have reliable data, we know that Wisconsin actually takes away children at a rate more than 20 percent above the national average, and roughly double the rate in states widely-recognized as, relatively speaking, models for keeping children safe, even when rates of child poverty are factored in.

This approach fails because most cases are nothing like the horror stories examined for the Gannett series. Far more common are cases in which family poverty is confused with "neglect." Other cases fall between the extremes. The needless removal of children in such cases causes its own tragedies:

»When a child is needlessly thrown into foster care, he loses not only mom and dad but often brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, friends and classmates. For a young enough child it can be an experience akin to a kidnapping. One major study of foster care "alumni" found they had twice the rate of post-traumatic stress disorder of Gulf War veterans and only 20 percent could be said to be "doing well." Two more studies, of 15,000 typical cases, found that maltreated children left in their own homes with little or no help typically fared better even than comparably-maltreated children placed in foster care.

»All that harm can occur even when the foster home is a good one. The majority are. But one independent study after another has found abuse in one-quarter to one-third of foster homes, and the record of group homes and institutions is even worse.

»But that isn't the worst of it. Almost all the failures documented in the Gannett series involve workers so overloaded they didn't have time to do everything necessary to keep children safe. The more that workers are overloaded with false allegations, trivial cases and cases in which poverty is confused with neglect, the less time they have to find children in real danger. That's almost always the real reason for the horror stories that, rightly, make headlines. And that's why a take-the-child-and-run approach to child welfare makes all children less safe.

Keeping children safe and respecting the rights of families are not opposites that need to be "balanced." On the contrary, the only states that have improved child safety are those that do more, not less, to keep families together. Those states could serve as models – just as soon Wisconsin officials are willing to admit they have a problem.

Source: Oshkosh Northwestern

Bomb DCF!

May 18, 2012 permalink

Kelly McKinney thought she knew how to deal with Connecticut DCF: she called in a bomb threat. Police evacuated the building without finding a bomb, and arrested Mrs McKinney.



Woman charged in DCF headquarters bomb threat


A 47-year-old woman has been charged with phoning in a bomb threat to the Hartford headquarters of the state Department of Children and Families.

State police arrested Kelly McKinney on threatening, breach of peace and harassment charges after Thursday afternoon's bomb threat. She is detained on $25,000 cash-only bail and is to be arraigned Friday at Hartford Superior Court.

The building was evacuated, but state police didn't find any bombs or suspicious devices. They say they identified McKinney as the bomb threat caller after finding her phone number during a search of DCF call records. State police say McKinney later admitted making the threat.

The reason for the bomb threat isn't clear.

State records show McKinney has several convictions for larceny. It's not clear if she has a lawyer.

Source: Norwich Bulletin

Free Maternity Care
Cost: Your Baby

May 18, 2012 permalink

An Indian hospital advertising free maternity care for expectant mothers forced a mother to sell her baby to pay for the medical bill.



Couple sell newborn to pay hospital bill

Sarmila Basumatary
The couple at the hospital.
Telegraph picture

Kokrajhar, May 12: The parents of a newborn were forced to sell their baby for Rs 7,000 to clear the dues of a government hospital the mother was admitted to.

The incident took place despite the Dispur’s claims of providing free medical facilities to pregnant women who go for delivery in a government hospital.

Sarmila Basumatary was admitted to Rupnath Brahma civil hospital here last Saturday and delivered a boy through caesarean section on Sunday evening. The baby was given away straight from the newborn care unit where it was kept for a day.

“With the mother in poor health, we thought it best to give away the baby for adoption. The poor have no option but to surrender to fate,” the boy’s father, Suniram, said. “The lady gave Rs 7,000 which we are using to pay for the medical expenditure,” he added.

“I believe he will be better off with the family which has taken him,” the boy’s mother said from the hospital bed. The couple already have three sons and a daughter.

The irony is stark: On the walls of the maternity ward hang posters of the much-touted state government scheme, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, highlighting the facilities a pregnant women is entitled to if she delivers a baby in a government hospital.

Under this mother-child welfare scheme, launched under National Rural Health Mission, Assam, a pregnant women admitted to a government health institution is entitled to free and cashless delivery, including caesarean section, medicines and consumer durables, surgical items, diagnostics tests such as blood, urine and ultrasonography, free nutritional diet (upto 30 days for normal delivery and seven days for caesarean section) and supplements, free conveyance from home to a health institution and free drop back home after delivery under Adharani scheme, among others. A senior official of NRHM, Kokrajhar, said the mission ensures provision of drugs and consumables required for normal delivery in a kit form (one kit for each delivery).

All newborns are also entitled to free treatment facilities at public health institutions till 30 days after birth.

The incident at Rupnath Brahma civil hospital has thrown up several allegations of anomalies, like nexus between doctors and pharmacists. Several patients, including pregnant women and their families, have complained of fiscal irregularities at the hospital. There are allegations that the hospital pharmacist who delivers medicines to patients on credit dictates their release. The doctors hold back patients’ release until the pharmacist writes a full payment receipt, said Md Nur Amin Haque, the relative of a patient. He had a receipt to buttress his claim.

Another patient, Janali Mushahary, who delivered a baby 10 days ago, said she was not released yesterday as scheduled because her family had not been able to make full payment at the pharmacy. “We had to buy everything, including antibiotics, saline, medicines and hand gloves. We have already spent over Rs 10,000 and are still to pay the pharmacist about Rs 5,000,” she said.

The doctors at the hospital alleged that medicines, including antibiotics, and saline were in short supply.

Denying any shortage of supply, the superintendent of Rupnath Brahma civil hospital, Dr A.K. Brahma, said there was “sufficient stock of antibiotics and required medicines” at the hospital, while admitting that supply of saline and hand gloves had not been up to the mark.

An official at the NRHM here also said there was regular supply of necessary medicines. “There is regular supply of items from us and so far we haven’t received any letter or complaint from the hospital citing deficiency of medicines and other required kits. If any doctor is saying that there is no medicine, it is just an excuse,” he said.

Source: Telegraph (India)

No Facebook

May 9, 2012 permalink

Facebook logo

The latest excuse to turn children over to child protectors: they use social networking. Paul Woodward, head of St Whites School in Britain, is threatening to snitch on parents who let their kids use Facebook.



shop: Chiefly British Informal.
to behave treacherously toward; inform on; betray.

Primary school head vows to shop parents to social services if pupils use Facebook

  • 60 per cent of his primary pupils have Facebook access

A primary school head has threatened to shop parents to social services if they allow his pupils to use Facebook and other networking sites.

Paul Woodward is concerned that youngsters who use the sites risk being exposed to porn and online grooming.

He has warned parents that persistently letting children flout Facebook’s 13-plus age rule could warrant investigation by child protection teams.

He estimates that at least 60 per cent of the 270-plus children at his school in the Forest of Dean have access to social networking sites.

Pupils at St Whites School range from four to 11 years old.

Mr Woodward, a branch secretary for the National Association of Head Teachers, the country’s biggest heads’ union, yesterday demanded a ban on children setting up social media accounts – because of the risk of accessing inappropriate material.

Internet companies and the Government must do more to protect impressionable children, he said.

Head teachers are also demanding greater protection from porn accessed through smartphones, as well as measures to stop young children playing 18-rated video games.

Children as young as four are hurting each other, not realising their victims won’t get up straight away like figures in computer games do, it was claimed. The calls will add to pressure on David Cameron to bring in measures to protect a generation of youngsters.

In a breakthrough for the Mail’s Block Online Porn campaign, which calls for content filter systems on online accounts, the Prime Minister this week revealed that adults who wish to view porn may have to ‘opt in’ rather than being able to access it by default.

Yesterday Mr Woodward welcomed the move as a ‘good step forward’. But he added: ‘The real concern is children being able to have Facebook accounts when they are not old enough, and parents condoning it. If my school is representative, it’s 60 per cent at least have got access.’

He said he had had cases where he told parents: ‘It’s illegal for you to do this, you shouldn’t be doing it for your child. You need to close down that account or I might have to tell the safeguarding people that you are exposing your child to stuff that’s not suitable.’

Mr Woodward added: ‘Children open themselves up to grooming, and then you don’t know what sort of content they could get hold of.’

Many parents lack awareness of the potential dangers to children from the variety of links and ‘apps’ that can be accessed through Facebook and other sites, he warned.

As soon as his school becomes aware a child has a Facebook account it contacts the company to get the profile blocked.

He spoke out as the NAHT gathers in Harrogate for its annual conference this weekend. He will propose calling on the Government to investigate misuse of social media.

Other heads warned that abuse of technology was a ‘growing problem’ in schools. Kenny Frederick, a London head, said parents were buying smartphones on which children ‘can access pornography, anything’.

John Killeen, a head from North Yorkshire, said pupils were copying behaviour they see in video games.

Stephen Watkins, from Leeds, added: ‘Four-year-olds don’t understand if you hit someone over the head with a brick they’re not going to jump up immediately as they do on the screen.’

Helen Clegg, of North Tyneside, warned of ‘deplorable’ attacks on heads via Facebook.

Facebook says there is nothing it can do to stop children under 13 setting up accounts, despite it being a breach of its own policy.

Source: Daily Mail

Kingston Rally

May 8, 2012 permalink

A rainstorm was not enough to stop a rally for accountability in Kingston today. Video news coverage from CKWS is available on YouTube or local copy (mp4). Organizers included Curtis Kingston, Maureen Fennelly, Harold James Akey, Kelly Leveque and Sara Perry. A report from one of them is enclosed. Curtis Kingston produced his own video, YouTube and local copy (mp4).



Curtis Kingston Well the rally in Kingston started out slow as it was pouring down rain and the weather was miserable but I am glad that we stuck it out because after the tv station showed up the rain stopped and the weather was great so we got to raise awareness about our cause and we got about 150 signatures on our petition so for a rainy day I think we did great. Also when I got home I was able to watch us all on tv which was just an added bonus to an all around great day. Please stay tuned as we will be planning another rally in Kingston likely in the next few days so that we know the weather is good. Thanks everybody for all your help and hope to see everybody again soon!

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

North Carolina Bans Same-Sex Marriage

May 8, 2012 permalink

Voters in North Carolina have banned same-sex marriage. No North American jurisdiction that has had a referendum has legalized same-sex marriage.



Ban on same-sex marriage leads North Carolina referendum

(CNN) -- North Carolina voters have passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, CNN projects, putting a ban that already existed in state law into the state's charter.

With more than 1.5 million votes counted from Tuesday's referendum, supporters of the ban led opponents by a margin of 61% to 39%, according to figures from the State Board of Elections. Its backers prepared to celebrate by serving wedding cake to their supporters in a Raleigh ballroom.

Tami Fitzgerald, the head of Vote for Marriage NC, said she had been confident that "the people of North Carolina would rise up and vote to keep the opposition from redefining traditional marriage.

"We are not anti-gay, we are pro-marriage," she said. "And the point -- the whole point -- is simply that you don't rewrite the nature of God's design for marriage based on the demands of a group of adults."

Meanwhile, a spokesman for one of the groups opposing the amendment told CNN, "The numbers are not looking the way we hope they would look."

"We have been down in the polls, and this certainly is not coming as a surprise," said Paul Guequierre, of the Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families. "But it is certainly not what we had hoped for."

The amendment would alter North Carolina's constitution to say that "marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state." Supporters argued that the amendment was needed to stop those trying to redefine marriage and ward off possible future actions of "activist judges."

Opponents called the measure redundant and warned it could result in jeopardizing domestic violence protections for women and affect couples' health benefits.

The amendment was trailing in Charlotte, in the Triangle counties around Raleigh and Chapel Hill, as well as the Winston-Salem-Greensboro area, according to figures from the State Board of Elections. But it was winning by wide margins in rural counties and in the suburbs of Charlotte -- the home of famous evangelist Billy Graham, who endorsed the ballot measure last week.

Graham's endorsement was a rare move for a preacher who has typically avoided political fights. He took out full-page ads in 14 North Carolina newspapers touting his support for the measure, saying "the Bible is clear -- God's definition of marriage is between a man and a woman."

On the other side, former President Bill Clinton opposed the amendment in a recording sent by phone to hundreds of thousands of North Carolina homes.

"So the real effect of the law is not to keep the traditional definition of marriage, you've already done that," Clinton says in the recording. "The real effect of the law will be to hurt families and drive away jobs."

The amendment also would strengthen the state's position against same-sex civil unions, often considered a precursor to the marriage issue. Several municipalities in North Carolina provide benefits to same-sex couples, and Duke University law professor Kathryn Bradley said those rights could be lost with passage of the amendment.

Concerns over the measure also honed in on the potential for unintended consequences, she said, affecting issues such as child custody and the prosecution of domestic violence among unmarried couples because of the narrow definition of the new statute.

"Before domestic violence laws, we relied on criminal assault laws, which don't always protect against things like stalking," added Bradley, who says the measure could also affect heterosexual couples.

The state House and Senate voted in 2011 to put the amendment before state voters. Both chambers are Republican-controlled for the first time in the past 140 years.

"This bill's been 12 years in the making," said Maxine Eichner, a law professor at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "But it's now made possible because Republicans control the legislature."

Should the constitutional amendment gain approval, it would largely prevent the state's judiciary from overturning it. Some 500,000 people had cast ballots on the measure before Tuesday through early voting or absentee ballots.

The only recent public opinion polling on the issue, from a group that does work for Democratic candidates and causes, indicates that a majority of North Carolina voters support the amendment.

Nationally, according to a new Gallup survey, 50% of Americans believe same-sex couples should be allowed to wed, a markedly different position than those polled in past years, suggesting growing acceptance of same-sex marriages.

Some 48% say such marriages should not be legal.

On Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden said he was "absolutely comfortable" with the idea of same-sex marriage.

"I just think that the good news is that as more and more Americans come to understand what this is all about, it is a simple proposition: Who do you love? Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person who love?" Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Biden did not mention the North Carolina initiative and added that President Barack Obama has the final word on the administration's policy. Obama has taken the official posit

Source: CNN

From another artcle:

A sign in front of the Devon Park United Methodist Church polling site reads "A TRUE MARRIAGE IS MALE AND FEMALE AND GOD" on May 8, 2012. On the ballot was a constitutional amendment that would define marriage in North Carolina as between one man and one woman.
Photo by Ken Blevins

Source: Star News

Parental Gulag

May 7, 2012 permalink

New York state is considering legislation, supported by the social workers union, to increase the penalties for assaulting a social worker. Sponsoring senator Golden said 14 percent of social workers in New York experienced some form of assault in the past year, while 30 percent experienced assault at some point during their career. The legislators are not considering reducing intrusiveness to make social work safer, nor do they mention the gulag to house the influx of new prisoners.



Lawmakers: Give more protection to social workers and prison guards

David Carlucci, Eric A Stevenson, Diane J Savino, Michelle Akyempong, Peter M. Rivera and Vanessa L Gibson
From left, Sen. David Carlucci, Assemblyman Eric A. Stevenson, Sen. Diane J. Savino, Michelle Akyempong of Social Service Employees Union Local 371 and Assembly members Peter M. Rivera and Vanessa L. Gibson call for legislation increasing the penalty for assaulting a social worker or prison guard. Savino said her mother, a 911 operator, was “horrified” that she decided to become a social worker years ago because of the job’s danger. Photo by Justin Sarjeant.
Photo by Justin Sarjeant.

A bipartisan contingent of legislators from both houses spoke in favor of a bill that equates attacking a social worker or a prison guard with assault on a police officer.

"We need to do what we need to do to protect the workers," said Assemblywoman Barbara M. Clark, D-Queens.

The bill, S.641-b/A.4672-b, sponsored by Sen. Martin J. Golden, R-Brooklyn, and Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera, D-Bronx, would change the penalty for attacking a social worker or corrections officer to a second-degree assault charge. The bill would also punish anyone for the same assault charge if an animal under their control attacks a social worker or prison guard.

Second-degree assault is a class D felony in New York, punishable by up to seven years in prison. The bill passed the Senate 58-1 and has been referred to the Assembly Codes Committee. Versions of the bill have been introduced since 2007.

Golden said 14 percent of social workers in New York experienced some form of assault in the past year, while 30 percent experienced assault at some point during their career.

"We see not only assaults, but people being killed," Golden said. "They have to be given safeguards to do [their job] safely."

Rivera's office said assaults on social services employees rose 10 percent last year, totaling 61 different employees.

Sen. Diane J. Savino, D-Staten Island, a sponsor of the bill, said when her mother found out she was going to be a caseworker instead of a police officer, she said, "Oh my God, that's worse."

Savino said her mother was a 911 operator at the time and was familiar with social work. "She was horrified," Savino recalls. The senator said the risk social workers face has not changed since she started working in the field 22 years ago. Savino has served as the vice president of political action and legislative affairs at Social Service Employees Union Local 371.

"People should come home in the same condition as they left in the morning," said Assemblyman Rory I. Lancman, D-Hillcrest, a sponsor of the bill. "We need to hold accountable those who assault our social workers."

"It really affects not just us but the people we represent," said Eddie Rodriguez, president of New York City Clerical-Administrative Employees Local 1549. "I have seen people get hurt. I have seen people get beat up."

"Public service is one of the hardest and challenging careers," said Assemblywoman Vanessa L. Gibson, D-Morris Heights, a sponsor of the bill. "Certainly they are right in harm's way."

Source: Legislative Gazette

CAS Harasses Innocent Father

May 7, 2012 permalink

According to a lawsuit filed by Peter Evans, he was accused of a crime and compelled to stay away from his family for a year by bail conditions. When the case came to trial, the evidence collapsed and he was acquitted on all charges. Still, his local CAS is harassing him, restricting his contact with his wife and children. A CAS worker told him the CAS is “higher than the criminal court.”

Fixcas has no inside knowledge of the Evans case, but the story he tells is consistent with dozens of other similar cases.



Brighton man suing CAS, OPP

BRIGHTON - A Brighton man claims he’s being “hounded” by the local Children’s Aid Society and OPP after being acquitted on a series of charges that alleged the assault of a young girl.

Details of the case are laid out in a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed with the Superior Court of Justice in Cobourg by Peter Evans.

Evans, who is presenting himself, has named the Highland Shores Children’s Aid Society (formerly Hastings Children’s Aid Society) and OPP in the suit. Also named are Trenton Christian School, the Quinte West Police Services Board, the Attorney General, and the Minister of Youth and Children Services.

Evans is alleging the CAS is using “criminal extortion” in order to prevent him from being with his common-law wife and two step children following his acquittal back in October, 2011.

Evans represented himself at the trial.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been proven in court.

According to suit, a CAS worker received a complaint on June 1, 2009 from employees at Trenton Christian School regarding a child of a former girlfriend of Evans.

The complaint centred on the child’s poor attendance and scholastic performance at the school.

During the CAS investigation, the OPP were called in to assist.

The suit states that at some point a hand-written note was discovered that suggested the child wanted to share a story regarding past sexual abuse.

Evans was arrested in July, 2009 and charged with criminal harassment, breaking and entering, assault, sexual assault and sexual interference. Bail conditions required Evan be separated from his family for a period of about one year.

Court proceedings began at Provincial Court in Belleville on April 12, 2010. According to the suit, a judge instructed the Crown drop the case as testimony of the alleged victim and her mother “were not credible.”

But the case went ahead in Superior Court of Justice in October, 2011.

During the trial, questions were raised about the authenticity of the child’s note. It was also discovered the child had not written the note and it was found the child’s mother had lied to authorities.

Less than two weeks later, Evans was acquitted on all the charges.

According to the suit, Evans claims he “suffers from the phobia of having been labelled a pedophile.”

Evans said he now suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, severe depression, psychological distress and other ailments.

The case, he said, has also had disabling effects on his common-law wife and two children.

In April, 2012, Evans said he was visited by members of the Northumberland OPP and a CAS worker. A report was received by the OPP and CAS that Evans showed up at a Trenton elementary school to pick up his step daughters.

According to Evans, the CAS and OPP told him he was restricted from having any communication with the two children.

The suit alleges the CAS worker told Evans he had a long history of sexual misconduct towards children. It’s also alleged the CAS worker demanded the removal of Evans' common law wife and two children from their home.

The suit alleges the CAS worker failed to accept the Superior Court ruling. Evans claims the CAS worker told him the CAS is “higher than the criminal court.”

Evans said in order to protect the two children from embarrassment, he complied with the request.

The suit also alleges Quinte West OPP made “false and unsubstantiated allegations” against Evans. It claims Evan and his common law wife have been “illegally, immorally and maliciously separated” by the actions of a Quinte West OPP officer and the CAS.

There have been no statements of defence filed by either police or the CAS and no date has been set to hear the civil suit in court.

Source: Belleville Intelligencer

Addendum: Here is a copy of the criminal charges (pdf) eventually dismissed.

Addendum: Here is the Statement of Claim provided by Mr Evans.

Addendum: Late in June Mr Evans' partner, Angela Quinn, filled us in on developments. In late April, after Peter was cleared of criminal charges, CAS and the police came to their home and forced her to leave with the children. The police waited at the end of the driveway until the move was complete. CAS asked her to come in to answer questions, but she sent them a letter refusing to comply. She has not heard from CAS since. Angela now lives with her children and her own parents, who are in their seventies. She vouches for Peter's excellence as a father and wishes to return to him, but fears a summary child abduction by CAS if she does so.

Belleville Rally

May 6, 2012 permalink

On Friday, May 4 there was a rally for accountability in Belleville. Here is one photo with Curtis Kingston, Brenda Everall, Maureen Fennelly, Kelly Leveque and Jeffrey Kingston. The Belleville Intelligencer had one picture in its print edition. Curtis Kingston produced a rally video, YouTube and local copy (mp4). Press coverage is enclosed.



Canada Court Watch protest demands accountability

Curtis Kingston, Kelly Levesque and Brenda Everall
Canada Court Watch members Curtis Kingston, Kelly Levesque and Brenda Everall hoist their signs while they drummed up support for oversight and accountability in a demonstration at Belleville's Century Place Square Last Friday.
Michael J Brethour, Belleville EMC

EMC News -Belleville -Members of Canada Court Watch converged on Century Place Square in Belleville last Friday to drum up support for oversight and accountability.

With many a horn blaring as motorists honked their support, the handful of picketers sought to generate awareness with their signage and get petitions from like-minded residents of the friendly city.

Curtis Kingston, a member of Canada Court Watch, said the day's protest was about letting people know about the current situation with the Ombudsman and MUSH sector.

Kingston explained that the MUSH Sector includes hospitals, long-term-care homes, school boards, Children's Aid Societies, police, and universities

He said the MUSH sector is accountable for 50 per cent of provincial government expenditures. The province has responded to growing concerns about spending practices in the broader public sector by increasing its financial transparency, requiring greater financial disclosure, subjecting these organizations to value-for-money audits, and providing more direction relating to expense practices. However, no progress has been made in opening these organizations to Ombudsman review of the policies and practices that directly affect Ontarians in their daily lives.

Touching briefly on the other organizations, Kingston mainly focused on the CAS.

"There is a need for child protection, the problem is what we have seen is that they (CAS) go above and beyond to keep children in their care," alleged Curtis.

He noted CAS lobbied against the private members bill, Bill-183, which sought to establish oversight of the agency through the Ombudsman.

"When you lobby against oversight that raises suspicion, especially when children are left in their care," he said. "Who would go against oversight? If you are going against oversight, there is an obvious problem."

Kingston said the Social Service Work Act that came into effect in 1998 forced every social worker in the province to be licensed with the College of Social Workers.

"What the Children's Aid Society did was they changed the names of all their social workers to child protection workers, the sole purpose of this was so they would not have to be registered with the college," he alleged.

Kingston said the whole purpose of the college is to regulate the industry and listen to complaints about individual social service workers, much like the colleges of teachers and doctors.

Kingston also took a shot at former executive director of the Hastings County CAS Len Kennedy who Kingston alleged touted himself as a social worker.

"His registration with the college was suspended in 2006. He has said numerous times he is a social worker, under the Social Service Worker Act that is actually illegal," he alleged.

Every year, the Ombudsman's Office receives many compelling complaints about MUSH sector services that they are forced to turn away. In 2010-2011, 1,963 such cases were received.

Source: Belleville EMC

Give the Ombudsman Power

May 5, 2012 permalink

Add the Toronto Sun to the voices calling for ombudsman oversight of children's aid societies. Their editorial is enclosed.



Katelynn’s death is an outrage

Katelynn Sampson
Katelynn Sampson

Something is rotten in Ontario’s child welfare system and it’s killing children.

Seven-year-old Katelynn Angel Sampson is the latest victim.

Randal Dooley and Jeffrey Baldwin were just two of the previous ones.

The horrors have been revealed over and over at murder trials and inquests.

As reported by the Sun’s Michele Mandel last week, Katelynn died on Aug. 3, 2008, assaulted, battered and bruised, forced to write out 62 times before her death at the hands of her court-appointed guardians, “I am A awful girl that’s why no one wants me.”

While this was going on, the children’s aid system missed warning after warning that Katelynn was in mortal danger.

As Justice John McMahon put it in sentencing Katelynn’s killers, Donna Irving, 33, and Warren Johnson, 50, to second-degree murder: “The alarm bells were ringing but no one was responding, if they had we would not be in this courtroom this afternoon.”

He harshly criticized the two agencies involved in Katelynn’s case, the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and Native Child and Family Services, who ignored warnings and failed to communicate with each other.

The family court system failed to check out the records for Katelynn’s guardians, after her mother, Bernice Sampson, signed her daughter over to Irving’s care because of her own crack addiction.

If they had, they would have discovered Irving was a crack-smoking former prostitute with a Grade 5 education, lengthy criminal record and a history of sexual and physical abuse.

Johnson, her common-law husband, was a crack user and unemployed former pot dealer.

Yet they were granted full custody of Katelynn in June, 2008.

By the time she died, Katelynn had 100 wounds on her body, some as severe as injuries that would normally be caused by a car crash. No one intervened.

She missed 73 days of school leading up to her death. No one intervened.

Katelynn’s principal at Parkdale Public School reported his suspicions she was being abused to the CAS. No one intervened.

Irving, Katelynn’s eventual murderer, even called the CAS emergency line four months before her death, saying she couldn’t care for her anymore. No one intervened.

Of course there must be an inquest, but inquests aren’t enough.

Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin has received thousands of complaints from the public about Ontario’s $1.4 billion-a-year children’s aid system.

There are allegations of CAS’s refusing to investigate abuse, neglect and staff misconduct, of biased and incompetent probes, of inaccurate record-keeping and misrepresenting information in court.

But Marin can’t probe the system because Ontario is the only province that doesn’t allow it.

Enough is enough. The status quo has failed.

It’s time to give the ombudsman the power to investigate the system and recommend how to fix it.

If Premier Dalton McGuinty’s minority government continues to refuse, Conservative Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath must force the issue. Now.

Source: Toronto Sun

Disabled Couple Keeps Baby

May 5, 2012 permalink

After a week of unfavorable publicity Peel CAS has backed down and announced that disabled parents Charlie Wilton and Maricyl Palisoc will be allowed to keep their son William.



Disabled couple thrilled they’ll be able to keep their baby

Charlie Wilton and Maricyl Palisoc with son William
Charlie Wilton and Maricyl Palisoc, both of whom have cerebral palsy, with their son William. CURTIS RUSH/TORONTO STAR

The proud parents of a 3-week-old baby boy learned Friday that they won’t lose their child to the Peel Children’s Aid Society after all.

“Yay!” Maricyl Palisoc, 34, yelled as she carried 9-pound William into her assisted living apartment unit in Mississauga with her fiancé, Charlie Wilton, 28. Both parents have cerebral palsy.

They had feared they would lose the baby, but a family conference meeting was held Friday with Peel CAS and the parents showed that they can address the safety and well-being of their child.

They have a personal care worker with them 24 hours a day and grandparents willing to help.

It’s been an emotional three weeks after their son was born by C-section at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Cerebral palsy is a muscular disability marked by slurred speech and physical impairment. Their cognitive abilities are not impaired. The couple said they can do everything able-bodied parents can do. Wilton changes diapers and Palisoc breastfeeds.

Palisoc, who works part-time as a cleaner, does not need a walker.

Wilton relies on a walker to get around and says he won’t pick up the child, but he can hold him just fine. He said he wants to be a stay-at-home dad.

The baby has a clean bill of health.

The pair met 14 years ago and the two have been seeing each other for the past six years. They have been engaged for a year.

They have been trying for the past three years to have a child.

They conceived the child in the conventional way.

“Even disabled people can have sex,” Wilton said with a laugh.

Wilton shrugged off concerns that because he and Palisoc have slurred speech that the child won’t be able to communicate with them as he grows up.

“It’s just like learning a second language, like Spanish. I just have to be patient,” Wilton said.

Wilton is not without worry, however.

He was adopted and spent many years going from group home to group home. He is worried that someday he will lose his child to foster care.

“I just want to be a good father,” he said.

Linda Soulliere, executive director of the Coalition for Persons with Disabilities, said her organization worked out a support plan with AbleLiving, a group that provides assistance to adults with disabilities, and submitted it to the CAS for approval.

The plan involves support workers providing enhanced or essential care for the parents and child. They are on-call 24 hours a day, and plan to schedule regular visits with the family.

Soulliere said she is confident Palisoc and Wilton are competent caregivers.

“Maricyl and Charlie are very strong and independent people, and I’m sure that they will be able to learn effective ways of managing the baby’s care,” she said. “They’re capable of taking care of their child in the supported environment that they currently live in.”

She added that while the parents may need assistance with some tasks, they will eventually adapt and learn.

There is a misperception that people with disabilities that affect their speech have “lower cognitive ability,” Soulliere said, but that’s not the case.

“There needs to be more education … especially essential services like CAS need to make sure that their workers are experienced and have exposure to persons with disabilities, so they can more adequately see the ability that also accompanies the disability.”

Source: Toronto Star

Follow-up two months later.



Disabled couple embraces joy of parenting

William wiggles his little arms and legs, smiling up at the moving musical mobile above his crib.

His parents, Maricyl Palisoc and Charles Wilton, savour these joys of parenthood, joys very nearly taken away from them.

In May, they almost lost their newborn to the Peel Children’s Aid Society because they both have a disability.

Wilton, 28, and Palisoc, 34, both have cerebral palsy, a physical disability affecting their movement and motor skills. Their disability is also marked by slurred speech but has no impact on their mental capacities.

“They told us we might not even bring the baby home,” Palisoc recalls of the harrowing three months of indecision prior to William’s birth on April 13 at Mount Sinai Hospital.

The Peel CAS was concerned they couldn’t properly care for their child. The agency finally dropped the case three weeks after he was born when the couple showed otherwise.

With the help of occupational therapists, they have found ways to do the usual things new parents do, such as changing diapers and breastfeeding. And, like any parents, they coo at their baby’s every smile. Pictures of William adorn their walls.

Both parents can walk, but Wilton has an electric wheelchair to help him get around. He doesn’t stand up while holding the baby. When he wants to bring William to his mother’s arms, he sits in a wheeled desk chair at the edge of the crib, picks up his son and wheels himself over to Palisoc.

Though she can’t jump up each time William whimpers in his crib, Palisoc recognizes each cry. When he wails his hunger cry, she straps a blue breastfeeding support pillow around her waist and gets William from his crib.

Now almost three months old, he excitedly latches onto her breast.

Either parent can change William’s diapers. If Wilton needs help, Palisoc stands behind him, arms outstretched, ready to lend a hand. Parenting, they say, is about teamwork.

Sometimes they need additional support — to bathe William, for instance. Their apartment, in an assisted-living building in Mississauga, provides 24-hour access to staff who come by every two hours to check on them and the baby.

Parenting comes naturally for them, they say. Palisoc fusses over the thermostat, adjusting it frequently, making sure her baby’s not too hot, not too cold. Wilton is already advertising that his son’s “a daddy’s boy” who stops crying the moment he is in his arms. They debate whose eyes he has, whose nose and mouth.

When Palisoc and Wilton met 14 years ago at Erinoak, an out-patient rehabilitation centre for youth with disabilities, they were both dating other people, so they just became friends. Five years ago, they met up again and fell in love.

Wilton proposed to Palisoc twice.

“ ‘Do you think other people are as happy as we are?’ ” Palisoc remembers him asking her last year at the Victoria Day fireworks.

He asked her to marry him. She said yes.

The next day he asked her again at their favourite restaurant over a fancy dinner, having coordinated with the staff a romantic delivery of her diamond ring, nestled between flowers on a platter.

She said yes, again.

“We want what everybody wants, a family,” says Palisoc, who already calls Wilton her husband. Their wedding is planned for June 2013.

Palisoc says they really became a family at 7:22 p.m. on April 13 when their healthy 7-lb. son was born by Caesarean section. William was conceived the traditional way.

“We are so much happier,” says Wilton. “William brought us, our relationship, closer together.”

When they step outside their home, it’s clear not everybody understands their choices.

“Everybody stares at us like we’re doing something wrong,” says Palisoc. They expected it, and don’t really mind, although she says they might when William gets older.

The couple shrugs off concerns about how they will care for William when he starts to crawl, when he gets bigger.

Wilton, a retired Paralympian for Canada, says he is used to taking on challenges — he holds three world track records.

“I don’t believe in the word impossible . . . That’s not in my vocabulary,” he says firmly.

“We are typical, normal parents. We worry about the same things. Whatever happens, happens. We will deal with it then,” he says.

The couple says if anything, having cerebral palsy will make them better parents. Palisoc remembers all too well her loving but overprotective parents. Wilton lived with six different foster families, so says he knows the importance of a good home. It’s why he will mostly be a stay-at-home dad. William will have regular contact with people with regular speech, such as his grandparents, but they are proud he will be able to understand other ways of speaking, like theirs.

They say there is much to look forward to. For one, they’re thinking of having another child, to give William a sibling.

Wilton is considering writing a book about their experience, and Palisoc, who is now on maternity leave from her job as an AMC theatre usher, would like to go back to school to study early childhood education.

“But I don’t know if I can leave William,” she says, smiling at her baby. “I’m a mom.”

Source: Toronto Star

Choked for Helping

May 5, 2012 permalink

An unnamed man attacked and choked Ottawa CAS worker Anne Marie Chabot. The article quotes CAS executive director Barbara MacKinnon saying: “It is a really difficult balance for the workers because they are balancing the desire to engage and help a family do the best for their children and take care of their own safety.” There is no mention of the actual actions by Chabot, but it is a safe guess they were not helpful.

According to an earlier version of the story since removed, the 58-year-old man arrested is Luc Blondin.



Man charged after Children’s Aid Society worker assaulted

A 58-year-old man faces charges after a Children’s Aid Society worker was assaulted and choked at her office in the east end of the city.

Police were called to the office at 1602 Telesat Court on April 20 at about 1:15 p.m. after Anne Marie Chabot was assaulted.

The suspect fled the office before police arrived, but was later arrested.

CAS Executive Director Barbara MacKinnon said Chabot was taken to the hospital after she was attacked, and returned to work about a week later.

“It is a really difficult balance for the workers because they are balancing the desire to engage and help a family do the best for their children and take care of their own safety,” MacKinnon said.

Chabot, child protection worker, has been a CAS employee for more than five years.

In her current role, she was responsible for visiting families, assessing a parent’s ability to care for their children and apprehend children in unsafe situations.

MacKinnon called child protection work “intrusive,” but said CAS employees are well-trained in crisis prevention.

“We are in circumstances where we are required to intervene and some times that family is not as willing to have our involvement,” she said. “And those are difficult circumstances.”

MacKinnon would not disclose the circumstances that led a man to attack Chabot at the CAS office.

A 58-year-old man was arrested and faces charges of assault and choking.

He was examined by a psychiatrist before appearing in Ottawa court Wednesday.

He was remanded in custody until May 8, when he will next appear in court by video.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Disabled Parents are Competent

May 2, 2012 permalink

The case of Maricyl Palisoc and Charles Wilton has inspired the CBC to do an entire article on child rearing by the disabled. The CBC is caught in a conflict between two groups protected by political correctness: social services and the disabled. Is there any chance the CBC will look into the problems of normal parents who have their children removed?



Parents with disabilities want support, not stigma

False belief exists that people with disabilities can't parent

Maricyl Palisoc and Charles Wilton with son William
Maricyl Palisoc and her partner, Charles Wilton, have cerebral palsy and are at risk of having their month-old son taken away by their local children's aid society.

Child welfare workers too often jump to conclusions that parents with physical disabilities can't adequately care for their children, the head of a national advocacy group for people with disabilities says.

"Often there's the assumption that parents are unable to look after their child, rather than look at what can we do to help this family support the child," said Laurie Beachell, national co-ordinator with the Winnipeg-based Council of Canadians with Disabilities.

Beachell was responding to the case of a Toronto-area couple who gave birth to their first child last month, a boy named William. The parents both have cerebral palsy, or CP, a condition that often gives people difficulty with speech, movement and muscle control. It's estimated that one in 500 babies, and up to one in three premature babies, are affected to some extent. More than 50,000 Canadians have CP.

Workers with the Peel Region Children's Aid Society wanted to apprehend the newborn immediately and put him in foster care. But advocates and supporters of the parents objected. The CAS backed off, but only allowed the baby to leave the hospital after friends of the parents agreed to pay for a full-time caregiver in the family's home.

The parents are expected to meet with children's aid workers on Friday to determine what happens next.

Mother struggled with stereotype

Cateland Penner of Winnipeg knows first-hand the struggles of being a parent with a disability. She and her husband both have cerebral palsy. They now have two children, a 15-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son.

Cateland Penner
Cateland Penner, above, and her husband, Greg, below, both have cerebral palsy. Their children are aged 15 and 8.
Cateland Penner
Greg Penner

"We thought about it for a long time. This was not just a whim," she said. "We went to counselling for six years. It was strictly out of fear because we knew what people would say. We definitely knew the barriers."

But Penner said they built a strong community of support around them and many of those people remain close friends today.

"I have no regrets," she said. "In terms of my kids, I would say they are much more sensitive to diversity and disability awareness."

Penner said it's sad to think that the barriers she overcame nearly 20 years ago are still there today. She said parents like her need to share their experience.

"We need networks and more supports. We may parent differently, but really the important thing is the love that is in your heart."

Melanie Moore of Hamilton agrees. She and her husband are blind. They have three children; the youngest is five. Like others, Moore said she still struggles to overcome stereotypes and negative perceptions, even among health professionals.

"It isn't just CAS workers. It's medical professionals, nurses and hospital staff," she said. "We all should focus on people's strengths, not their disabilities."

Moore is part of the Parenting with Disabilities Network, run by the Centre for Independent Living Toronto, or CILT. It advocates and provides services and support for hundreds of parents who are disabled.

Melanie and Brian Moore
Melanie Moore, top right, and her husband, Brian, are blind and have three kids, including their son Graham.
Melanie Moore

"You have to fight these battles," said Sandra Carpenter, executive director of CILT. It's particularly challenging for those who have trouble communicating, she said. "Unfortunately, it's an assumption: if you can't talk, then you can't be a capable parent."

Carpenter has advocated for many parents, many of whom are afraid that if they ask for help, especially from a children's aid society, they'll lose their children. But she said many child welfare agencies are seeing the benefits of keeping families together and now provide special programs to help in these cases.

"You have to look at the person and what are the circumstances in which they function," said David Baker, a Toronto lawyer whose firm specializes in disability cases. He said that over the years, courts have become reluctant to remove children from their families if there's another option. It is often not in a child's best interest to go into foster care.

He said he hopes this latest case in the Toronto area is just an isolated incident and not an indication of a shift in child welfare policy that favours seizing children rather than supporting them in their own homes.

Most cases now resolved

Several cases across Canada in the past three decades have seen children's aid move to take kids away before fully assessing the situation, according to Beachell. But he said most are resolved once workers realize that with supports, the children in these families can function and flourish.

"Our first approach should be to provide the necessary supports," Beachell said. "The first assumption should not be to scoop the kid out of the family.

"There are lots of situations where we provide support to young moms and newborns, and this should be no different."

Beachell said history shows that parents with disabilities can parent as well as any others. It's often just a case of raising awareness, and of making help available from existing government programs such as homecare, he said.

There's also an economic argument to keeping families together, Beachell added: The cost of providing basic support to a family is far less in the long-term than the economic and social costs of taking children into care.

Source: CBC

Naked Lunch

May 2, 2012 permalink

British social worker Shaun Stanley promised to write a good report on a mother provided she served him tea and beer naked. He remarked that the woman was not exactly flat-chested and suggested that at his next visit her dressing gown might fall open. As he removed his own shirt to show that he was not wearing a recording device, condoms fell out of his pockets.



Social worker asked for 'naked woman to serve him tea and beer'

A social worker told a mother he would write a good report on her if she served him tea and beer naked, a tribunal heard.

The social worker took off his shirt and some condoms fell out of his pockets, it is claimed

Shaun Stanley allegedly told the woman, in her thirties, that her dressing gown might accidentally fall open as they chatted during a child welfare visit.

He had volunteered to work over the bank holiday when his manager at Oxfordshire County Council asked for people to come forward.

Stanley went to the woman's home in Reading, Berks on May 29, 2010 and made comments about her breasts saying that she 'wasn't exactly flat-chested,' it is claimed.

He took off his shirt in an attempt to prove to her that he was not wearing a wire and emptied out his pockets, to show that he wasn't recording the conversation on his phone, it is alleged.

As he did so some condoms fell out of his pockets, it is claimed.

When he was leaving he asked the woman if there was any chance he could see her in her dressing gown when he returned the following day.

He added: "It might drop open".

Case presenter John Lynch said: "She said she did not feel comfortable with the registrant and that he made her feel vulnerable."

When Stanley returned that following day, the woman recorded him swearing at her on his mobile phone.

Stanley was checking on the welfare of the women's children and told her he would write positive reports for sexual favours, it is claimed.

Mr Lynch said: "He said to her, 'you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours'."

He is said to have said that the only thing he would ask for would be for her to serve him tea and beer while naked.

Stanley indicated that he would falsify his records and give her advance warning of his visits, it is claimed.

The social worker is not attending the hearing. The hearing continues.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

you slip is showing

Social Embezzler

May 2, 2012 permalink

British social worker Clair Jones embezzled £7,000 intended for parents.



CSA worker 'threatened' by loan sharks siphoned off £6.8k into her own bank account

A WORKER at the Child Support Agency diverted nearly £7,000 due to be paid to parents into her own bank account, a court heard.

Clair Jones, aged 38, took the cash and altered records to cover her tracks, Plymouth magistrates were told.

Clair Jones
GUILTY PLEAS: Clair Jones admitted three charges of fraud by abuse of position

Jones was struggling to pay debts and had been threatened by loan sharks, the court heard.

Jones, of Union Street, Stonehouse, admitted three counts of fraud by abuse of position in January 2009, July 2009 and August 2011.

Magistrates ordered a probation officer to prepare a background report but warned that all options including custody were being kept open.

Owen Lawton, prosecuting for the Department for Work and Pensions, said she was an employee of the Child Support Agency.

He said she diverted payments due to claimants into her own account and then altered the records to 'cover her tracks'.

Mr Lawton said the fraud came to light when an absentee parent due to receive a refund of nearly £400 complained that he had not had the cash.

He added the payment was traced to a bank account in Jones' name and she was instantly suspended.

Mr Lawton said in total three transfers of agency cash were made to her, adding up to £6,847.60.

He added: "Clearly there is a breach of trust but it is right to say all the money has been reimbursed."

Alan Harris, for Jones, said: "In circumstances in which she is deeply ashamed she decided to borrow the money for a short time and pay it back at the first opportunity."

He added her debts had escalated from about 2007.

Mr Harris said she had gone to the Citizens Advice Bureau for guidance but still ended up owing cash to doorstep loan collectors.

He added she had even been threatened if the money was not paid.

Mr Harris said: "She knew straight away she had lost her job and any prospect of being employed anywhere where she has responsibility."

He added she had co-operated with investigators and quickly repaid the money, partly through a loan from her mother.

Magistrates released her on unconditional bail for a probation report. She is due to be sentenced on May 23.

Source: Plymouth Herald

Occupy Child Protective Services

May 2, 2012 permalink

A Mayday protest by Occupy Oakland targeted child protective services. Several speakers compared services offered by child protective agencies, such as foster homes, to state prisons



May Day protesters call for reforms of child protective services

OAKLAND -- An Occupy Oakland offshoot group on Tuesday -- a day of May Day actions nationwide -- protested the Alameda County agency entrusted with protecting children and investigating reports of child abuse, prompting some of its employees to stay away for the day.

At a morning rally at the county Social Services Agency at 4th and Broadway streets, several speakers criticized the Department of Children and Family Services -- and their counterpart agencies throughout the nation -- for failing to help children and hurting minority families in disproportionate numbers.

The "Anti-Patriarchy" rally featured several speakers who compared services offered by child protective agencies, such as foster homes, to state prisons, saying their failures symbolized a corrupt system that must be reformed.

"They say it takes a village to raise a child, but in Oakland and various cities around the world, the system is doing its best to destroy the village," said protester Bella Eiko.

Siaosi Namomo, 19, of Oakland, said he was under the care of child protective agencies from infancy until the time he was "aged out" of the system at 18, spending his entire childhood being shuttled among an endless number of foster homes around the state.

"When you become an adult, it's 'You're 18, now get out,' " Namomo said. "I was kicked out of my group home two days before high school graduation and ended up sleeping at the school football field."

Sylvia Soublet, media relations officer for the Department of Children and Family Services, countered several of the speakers' comments, saying that race or ethnicity never plays a role in the agency's mission to help children and families in crisis.

"One of the misconceptions about us is that we actually go out looking for people abusing children," Soublet said. "In fact, we receive reports of abuse and neglect; we have a hotline for that. There is no way we can identify if that caller is a minority, and it is not an issue that is relevant to us."

Soublet added that removing a child from a family's home is always a last-resort option.

"Even then, we're looking at how we can return this child as safely and quickly as possible," she said. "Most times we're looking for relatives, because we know children will do better with people they're familiar with."

Soublet pointed to the agency's successes, saying that it has reduced the number of county children in out-of-home care from 2,700 to about 1,450 in the past half-decade or so.

"There are a lot of families who just need support -- support with their parenting or in choosing healthy lifestyles," she said. "We try to provide families with support and resources."

The morning protest, sponsored by Occupy Oakland Patriarchy, a group of self-described "feminist and queer radicals," was one of several morning actions held in downtown Oakland on Tuesday.

The crowd of more than 100 people then marched to the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse at 12th and Oak streets, where marchers blocked traffic for a few minutes.

The Occupiers were targeting Alameda County Family Law Court, which works with Children and Family Services and other agencies involving troubled families.

Harry Baker, executive board member for SEIU Local 1021, which has supported the Occupy movement, agreed with calls for reform at agencies such as Children and Family Services, along with the nation's banks and financial institutions.

He reminded the audience that child protective services employees are dealing with layoffs and longer hours with less pay, like so many other struggling workers.

"This is an opportunity," Baker said. "If both sides are willing to talk, then the system can be improved."

Source: San Jose Mercury News

Foster Abuse

May 2, 2012 permalink

A jury has ordered the state of Alaska to pay $2 million to two sisters abused in state care. The bad guy administering the abuse? Retired correctional officer Jack Dominick. Once again, the real child abuser is a functionary acting with the power of the state.



Sisters awarded $2 million for years of abuse in state care

Jury finds that case workers didn't believe children's cries for help.

The state of Alaska was supposed to protect the sisters from a mother who drank and did drugs, and from the increasing violence between her and their stepfather.

But, a Kenai jury recently found, the state put them in places even worse. They suffered years of mistreatment, including sexual abuse in foster care, and the state exacerbated the problems by failing to provide the girls consistent counseling, according to their attorney, Mike Kramer of Fairbanks.

After an eight-day trial this month, the jury sided with the sisters, putting 95 percent of the blame directly on the state, and awarded them more than $2 million in damages, court records show.

Some of the adults, including two case workers who should have been watching out for the sisters, doubted or dismissed their cries for help, which made their emotional problems worse, according to an expert hired by their attorney.

The state hasn't decided whether it will appeal the award, said Cori Badgley, an assistant attorney general not directly involved in the case. "We are still evaluating our options and looking at the jury verdict."

The sisters are now 19 and 21 years old. They took their claims of mistreatment and neglect in foster care to court in hopes of improving the state's child protection system, the older sister said in an interview. The Daily News generally does not name the victims of sexual abuse.

"I don't want kids to have to hurt more than they are already hurting," the 21-year-old said in a telephone interview with her attorney on the line. "Being taken from your parents is very, very tough, and very, very painful. And I don't ever want kids to have the pain that we had."

Kids should be believed when they report abuse, she said. And she wants the state Office of Children's Services to investigate reports of mistreatment and make sure its young wards get essential counseling.

Jurors assessed 5 percent of the blame for the girls' ordeal to their mother, whose life was a chaotic blur of drugs, alcohol and violent relationships.

OCS officials on Friday answered questions about the case in brief, written responses that were vetted through the state Department of Law.


The sisters grew up in state custody starting in 1998 when they were 6 and 8 and continuing for eight years. Their experiences spanned the administrations of two governors, Tony Knowles -- who made improving children's services a top priority -- and Frank Murkowski, who revamped the state Department of Health and Social Services and replaced the beleaguered Division of Family and Youth Services with OCS.

For these two girls, reality didn't reflect the political promises.

In all, there were six siblings, with three fathers. The oldest was a boy, who wasn't sexually abused. The three youngest were eventually adopted by another family and are happy and safe, the older sister said.

The dysfunction in their birth family was deeply rooted.

"This family has a history of domestic violence, chemical dependency and now sexual abuse," Kate Tea, their court-appointed guardian ad litem, wrote in a 2001 court pleading arguing for them to remain in state custody. "The dynamics in this family have promoted fear, secrets, and the division of family members from one another. These children have been at the vortex of the generational violence of physical, emotional and sexual abuse."

While other adults betrayed or ignored the girls, Tea -- who was appointed to advocate for their best interests in court -- was a steady source of support, the older sister said.

Before the girls were taken from their mother, the state had received five reports that they were endangered by, variously, neglect, domestic violence, drugs and alcohol, their attorney said. Most of the reports weren't investigated, he said.

The older sister said she assumed the role of mother -- someone had to care for the little ones. "I don't think I really had a childhood at all," she said. Her own father had killed himself when she was 7.

Meanwhile, the relationship between their mother and stepfather was growing more violent, their attorney said. The stepfather slammed their mother's head through the wall and punched and kicked her, according to the older sister and records filed in court.

The stepfather hit the children too, she said. If they were loud in the morning, their mouths were duct-taped shut.

They were afraid to tell anyone about their abuse, she told jurors, because their stepfather told them foster parents cut up babies and cooked them in the microwave.


Finally, one night in September 1998 when things got particularly bad at home, state workers stepped in. Their maternal grandparents became their state-licensed foster parents. Within a year, Tea and a therapist reported the possibility of sexual abuse of the children to OCS. The older girl was having night terrors -- dreams that included thrashing, kicking and punching -- which can signal sexual abuse. No one followed up.

"If they had asked, I would have told them," the older sister said.

In 2001, the sexual abuse came to light. The girls told a friend, who told her mother, who told the girls' mother. Their mother, despite her troubles, went to the troopers.

The girls told troopers their grandfather, Jack Dominick, molested them on RV camping trips when they traded off sharing a bed with him, according to a trooper's sworn statement. Their little sister, just 2 years old, was also molested, charges filed in Kenai Superior Court say. A nurse who performed sexual assault exams found physical evidence supporting the girls' claims. At home, the girls regularly napped with their grandfather, according to their grandmother, Barbara Dominick, who said she never saw anything inappropriate.

Jack Dominick, a retired state correctional officer, eventually pleaded no-contest to three counts of sexual abuse. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

OCS says the girls were in weekly counseling and regularly saw their guardian ad litem and case worker after the abuse began but before it was discovered. None of the adults saw anything to make them suspect Jack Dominick, OCS told the Daily News this week.

Barbara Dominick, now deceased, doubted the girls' accusations. Early on, she slapped the older girl for "trying to tell her grandmother the truth about something and she did not want to hear it," the girl said, according to a case worker's files.

The case worker, Patricia Gray, wrote on March 21, 2001, that she put off confronting Barbara about the slap because she didn't want to upset her.

When Gray did talk to Barbara two days later, the grandmother said the child was disrespectful. Barbara wanted to increase the dosage of an antidepressant the girl was on because she was "very mouthy."

Just days later, on April 2, the case worker asked a judge to release the sisters and their older brother from agency custody, which would have ended supervision of the home.

"Although the grandmother is undergoing a lot of stress and pressure, she is willing and feels she is capable of taking care of her grandchildren," Gray wrote in a petition to the court.

"It just became too much work, I think," Kramer said. "OCS turned its back on them at their greatest time of need."


The guardian on the case, Tea, argued in court against ending custody, saying the children needed state protection and her advocacy. The judge ordered state custody to continue.

Though the court didn't remove OCS from the case, OCS virtually removed itself, Kramer said.

After the girls' therapist reported the slapping incident, the grandmother switched the girls to a different therapist, who later told the state the girls had missed more than half their appointments and she was dismissing their case.

"There were additional reports of grandmother slapping and spanking the girls as it became increasingly clear that she disbelieved their disclosures and vented her anger over the loss of her husband on them," according to a written assessment last year by Mike Hopper, a Fairbanks clinical psychologist who reviewed the case records and testified on the sisters' behalf as an expert witness.

The grandmother asked the state to turn over their Permanent Fund dividends, which Tea also opposed and won.

After that, the grandmother said she didn't want them anymore, Kramer said. She kept their older brother, though.

The older sister remembers how a worker drove the girls to their grandmother's home, where they packed their belongings into black plastic garbage bags. They moved back with their mother until she got drunk and was jailed for assaulting their stepfather, according to the girls' attorney.


Next they were placed into a foster home, which was very strictly run, in Kasilof. Food was kept in locked cabinets. The children were kept downstairs; their bedrooms had alarms on the doors and locks on the windows, the older girl said. They mainly stayed in a family room monitored by a video camera. The older girl remembers wearing bulky sweaters because, she said, the foster father was ogling her.

Their younger siblings lived there too. The little brothers had just gone through potty training. Once, when the older girl heard her brother's door alarm go off in the middle of the night, she got up to help him, but he had already peed on the floor. She told jurors she saw the foster mother rub his face in the urine.

The older sister said she called her case worker at the time, Tim Von Haden, to tell him of the mistreatment.

"There was never anything ever done about it," the sister said. "He thought I was just lying because I wanted to go back and live with my mom."

All concerns were investigated, OCS contends, and none were found to be true. At the trial, the foster parents denied the accusations of mistreatment. They decided to stop being foster parents early this year after more than two decades, according to OCS.

Von Haden never visited the girls in the foster home, Kramer said. OCS policy requires monthly face-to-face meetings and home visits every other month.

OCS contends its workers were in regular contact with the girls and their family.


Early on, the state ensured proper care to the girls, Hopper, the psychologist, wrote. But the last time the girls regularly saw a therapist was in January 2002, even though psychiatric evaluations said they needed therapy, all the more so after they were taken from their mother once again in 2003, he said.

"I find that absence deeply troubling: Betrayed, abused, and abandoned, the girls were, if anything, more damaged the second time they came into OCS's custody and yet received nothing by way of additional support over the next three years of silent drift in foster care," Hopper wrote. A counselor might have recognized signs of mistreatment, he said.

The pain of sexual abuse was made much worse by the grandmother's denial of it and case workers' dismissal of other complaints, he said.

"Children can recover from almost any trauma if their pain, confusion, and accounts are heard, accepted and validated," Hopper wrote. When they are disbelieved, they begin to blame themselves.

"I just kept being called a liar," the older sister said. "So pretty much I just gave up."

Both sisters have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, their attorney said.

OCS maintains the girls got counseling at various times while in state custody.

Eventually, in 2006, the sisters were separated and sent to live with other relatives. OCS closed their case.

The younger sister went to live with her father, whom she barely knew, in Minnesota. She is back in Nikiski now. She's unemployed and working toward a high school equivalency diploma.

The older one went to live with an aunt in Washington. She also now lives in Nikiski with her fiance and her two children, a 2-year-old and an infant. She takes college classes and wants to be a pediatric nurse. She sees her three younger siblings daily. They were adopted together and their adoptive mother essentially became the older girl's mother too. She's the only person she trusts to baby-sit her kids. She's overprotective because of what she went through, she said.

The hardest thing about the trial, she said, was watching her younger sister undergo questioning about the sexual abuse. The sister had never before talked about it. They got through the ordeal together.

Asked last week whether children in state care are safer now than they were when the sisters were in state custody, OCS declined to answer.

Source: Anchorage Daily News

Typical Workings

May 2, 2012 permalink

Christopher Booker has assembled his experiences with dozens of child protection cases into a scenario of the typical workings of the system.



Child protection: MPs must act on the scandal of seized children

Britain's child protection system is off the rails, and only the politicians who built it can fix it, says Christopher Booker

girl separated from family
Torn apart: the system of child protection is a national scandal
Photo: ALAMY

Britain's social workers took a beating again last week. On the orders of the children's minister, Tim Loughton, full versions of two harrowing case reviews of the Baby P tragedy were published. They found fault not only with Haringey's social workers but with lawyers, the police and health professionals, Under pressure from social workers, reviews of two similar cases in Yorkshire are still being kept under wraps. Meanwhile, an Ofsted report found that 119 children died or suffered serious injury last year through social workers' failure to intervene.

Still largely hidden from view, however, is that other scandal, in its way just as disturbing, in which the failure of our child protection system is the very opposite: the seizure of thousands of children a year from loving homes, for no good reason.

In recent months, as I have followed dozens of these cases and been briefed on many more by such experts as John Hemming, the MP who runs the Justice for Families campaign, and Ian Josephs, the former councillor who has helped hundreds of families through his Forced Adoption website, a startlingly consistent picture has emerged. What follows is not based on exceptional cases but on the typical workings of a system which has gone horrifyingly off the rails.

For parents who fall foul of this system, often on no more evidence than malicious hearsay, the first shock is to find themselves treated like dangerous criminals. To seize children, social workers seem able to enlist the unquestioning support of the police, who arrive mob-handed, six or eight at a time, beating down doors, tearing babies from their mothers' arms, holding parents in custody for up to 36 hours while their children are removed into foster care.

The parents must then wrestle with a Kafka-esque system rigged against them in every way. They find themselves in courts where every normal principle of British justice has been stood on its head. Social workers may give written evidence to a judge which the parents aren't allowed to see. The most outrageous hearsay evidence may be accepted by the court without the parents even being allowed to cross-examine on it.

A key part is played by evidence from supposed "experts", psychiatrists or paediatricians who may be paid up to £35,000 for their reports, and who receive regular work from the social workers involved. Parents are forbidden to call their own independent experts to challenge a case made against them. They are, all too often, pressured into being represented by lawyers who, again, work regularly for the council, who fail to put their case and who turn out to be just part of the same system.

Parents may be forbidden to testify on their own behalf, but must listen for hours, even days, to everyone else involved – including their own lawyers – putting what amounts to a case for the prosecution. The guardian appointed to represent the interests of the child may never have met the child and merely endorses whatever the social workers say.

Not surprisingly, these bizarre practices are so geared to the interests of a corrupted system that, in the latest year for which we have figures (2008), of 7,340 applications for care orders made by social workers, only 20 were refused.

Meanwhile, the children themselves are handed over to foster homes, which receive £400 a week or £20,000 a year for each child, and where many are intensely unhappy and not infrequently abused. Foster carers and social workers routinely conspire to tell bewildered children that their parents neither love them nor want them back. Children and parents meet at rigorously supervised "contact sessions", where any expression of affection or attempt to discuss why the children have been taken from home may be punished by termination of the session or denial of further contact.

The purpose of all this, funded by hundreds of millions of pounds of public money, is partly to keep in being the vast fostering industry, run by dozens of agencies, often owned by ex-social workers, which also receive £20,000 a year for each child they place. Of course, there are many good and responsible foster parents, but statistics show that children in care do very much worse on almost every count, from health to performance in school, than children living with their birth parents.

Another purpose of the system is to ensure that as many children as possible are adopted (at a cost of £36,000 per placement), in accordance with Tony Blair's personal commitment a decade ago that the target for adoptions in Britain should rise by 40 per cent. Councils are still receiving millions of pounds a year for meeting adoption targets.

Yet virtually none of this reaches the outside world because the system is hidden behind an almost impenetrable veil of secrecy. The nominal reason for this is to protect the identity and interests of the children, but secrecy has been so extended that its real aim is to protect the system itself and all those who do so well out of it.

Parents are forbidden to talk to the media or even to their MPs about the injustice they are suffering. Several times in recent months, councils have sought injunctions to prohibit me reporting anything at all about a case, even though no person or even the council itself would be identified. More than once, parents have been threatened with contempt of court and prison if they talk to me or anyone else about how they are being treated.

Very occasionally a judge or senior lawyer breaks ranks by speaking out against such abuse of state power, as when one Court of Appeal judge recently compared the conduct of a council's social workers to what went on in "Stalin's Russia or Mao's China". But in general this cruel, dishonest and venal system continues on its way, hidden from view, accountable to nobody but itself.

The only people in a position to reform this system fundamentally are those who set it up in the first place under the 1989 Children Act – the politicians. But they have, with one or two shining exceptions – notably John Hemming – walked away from the Frankenstein's monster that Parliament created. It is now up to them to support Mr Hemming and all those horribly maltreated families who are campaigning for one of the most out­rageous scandals in Britain today to be brought to an end.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Rewriting History

May 2, 2012 permalink

Since fixcas retains old news articles, we can tell the sequence of events that led to the death of Katelynn Sampson. Impoverished mother Bernice Sampson took her opportunity when offered a chance to earn $40 in a drug deal. The dealer turned out to be an under-cover cop and Bernice was arrested and sentenced to house arrest. Children's aid stepped in and told her to place her daughter with someone else, or they were going to put Katelynn in foster care. Bernice selected her long-time friend Donna Irving and her common-law husband Warren Johnson as guardians, without knowing what the police and CAS knew, that Irving had a history of violent offenses and had lost two of her own children to CAS. A judge approved the placement, again without knowledge of Irving's past. When the placement resulted in tragedy, CAS claimed no involvement. These reports give the story of the police and CAS involvement: [1] [2]. Here is an earlier article in which Kenn Richard, executive director of Native Child and Family Services of Toronto, denies involvement in the Sampson case. [3].

This week the killers of Katelynn Sampson pleaded guilty and were sentenced. Instead of admitting that CAS overzealousness led to the needless death of a child, Toronto Star columnist Catherine Porter takes the occasion to omit the relevant facts and paint a picture suggesting children can be made safer by granting even more power to children's aid.



Porter: Tragic Katelynn Sampson was failed by Ontario social safety net

Katelynn Sampson
Katelynn Sampson shown in the cafeteria of the Parkdale Public School in this April 28, 2008, file photo.
Lisa Kannakko Photo

The road to 7-year-old Katelynn Sampson’s gruesome murder was lined with flaming warning flags.

Her two legal guardians, Donna Irving and Warren Johnson, pleaded guilty to beating her to death in the Ontario Superior Court Tuesday. They are headed to prison for at least 15 years.

They should never have been trusted with Katelynn’s precious life. They were both crack addicts, although Johnson says he’d cleaned up. Neither had a job. Irving, a former child ward and teenage prostitute, had already lost two of her kids to Children’s Aid.

Related: Life sentence for murdering 7-year-old Katelynn opens the way to an inquest

They were clearly a terrible choice — made by both Bernice Sampson, Katelynn’s crack-addicted mother, and Ontario Court Justice Debra Paulseth — to care for Katelynn.

The couple thought so, too. In the months leading up to Katelynn’s grisly death on Aug. 3, 2008, when police found her in a pool of her blood with 70 wounds, each more ghastly than the next, across her little body, Irving and Johnson called out for help no less than five times.

Irving and Johnson called the Children’s Aid Society, Katelynn’s teacher, even the little girl’s grandmother, saying they wanted Katelynn out of their apartment. They described her as dirty and obstinate. They said clearly that they couldn’t take care of her.

After police searched the home where Katelynn died, they found a scrap of paper on which the little girl had printed this mournful sentence 62 times:

“I’ am A awful girl that’s why know one wants me.”

That help clearly never came.

Since Irving is half-Anishinabe, Children’s Aid referred Irving’s call to Native Child and Family Services. But, while a supervisor called Irving the next day, it took a case worker 16 days to make contact. When she finally got that call, Irving lied and said she was getting help from Katelynn’s school.

Had that worker bothered to call Parkdale Public School and spoken to the principal to double-check, she would have discovered more blazing warning signs. Katelynn had been absent for 22 days in the past three months, and when she did show up, she had ugly bruises. The worker could have compared notes on Irving and Johnson’s increasing complaints about Katelynn, which they had both written and spoken to her Grade 2 teacher about. (“She was refusing to brush her teeth and take a bath,” they said.)

And five days later, when Katelynn appeared in class with bruises all over her face and pink spots down her arms and hands, the principal might have phoned her case worker.

But that didn’t happen. Because the case worker closed the file without following up on Irving’s lie.

Instead the principal reported the bruises and burn marks to Children’s Aid, which passed the buck again to Native Child and Family Services, which strangely, did nothing.

Katelynn’s case was never reopened.

That agency has much to answer for. They should be investigated for failing to protect Katelynn, as the strongest rope in her safety net. But the other ropes need tightening too.

Ontario Superior Court Justice John McMahon commended Parkdale Public School’s former principal as the only one who cared for Katelynn. I’m glad he called Children’s Aid. But that clearly wasn’t enough. He should have insisted on speaking to her worker to make sure Katelynn was being protected. That should be the provincial protocol, since clearly we need more threads in our safety net. Little lives are at risk.

Katelynn stopped going to school altogether after May 1. Irving told her concerned teacher she was heading up north to the Henvy Inlet Reserve near Parry Sound for a funeral, which was a lie. Later Irving told the principal that Katelynn couldn’t come back because she had a broken leg — yet another lie.

Even without the previous bruises and burns, here were two more flaming flags. They went unheeded, and amazingly Katelynn passed Grade 2.

It made me wonder, sitting in that sad courtroom, if Irving hadn’t called 911 the night of Katelynn’s painful and lonely death, how many months would have gone by before someone began to really worry about that beautiful child who loved to read and make snow angels?

They say “it takes a village to raise a child.” Our village needs serious repairs.

Source: Toronto Star

CAS Claims Baby of Handicapped Couple

May 1, 2012 permalink

Mississauga parents Maricyl Palisoc and Charles Wilton are fighting CAS for custody of their baby boy William. Both parents have cerebral palsy and CAS claims that makes them incompetent to care for their baby.

Here is CBC video of the Wilton case captured by Pat Niagara. YouTube and local copy. There was also a discussion on CFRB's Friendly Fire, May 1 (mp3).



Maricyl Palisoc and Charles Wilton with son William

Disabled parents fight to keep newborn at home

Social workers demand child receive 24-hour care

A disabled couple in Mississauga are fighting to keep their newborn son after social workers threatened to take the boy away unless he receives round-the-clock care from an “able-bodied attendant.”

Maricyl Palisoc and her partner, Charles Wilton, are the parents of a healthy month-old baby boy named William. Both parents have cerebral palsy, a disorder that limits their motor skills and slurs their speech, but has no effect on their cognitive abilities.

However, the Peel Children’s Aid Society is concerned about the couple’s ability to take care of their son and has expressed an intention to remove William from their home unless his parents secure 24-hour care from an able-bodied person.

The boy’s mother told CBC that she and her partner do not want to lose their son.

"We know that we need help, but we know that we are the best thing for our boy right now,” Palisoc said. "We both wanted to be parents and now we are, and we don't want do give anyone control of our family."

So far, the couple have been receiving the type of help that the CAS has demanded, thanks to Ryan Machete, a program co-ordinator with the Coalition for Persons with Disabilities, which provided the funds for the services since William's birth.

Machete said he’s not convinced it is necessary to spend $2,000 a week for a caregiver when Palisoc is able to change diapers, breastfeed and to “do the necessities” that come with caring for a newborn.

“From what I’ve seen when I’ve been at the apartment … there’s really nothing that she’s unable to do,” Machete told Metro Morning.

However, he said, it is possible matters will become more challenging as William grows, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be able to look after her son.

“I think that maybe when William grows up to be six years old and hurts his knee and needs his mom to pick him up, and he’s 60, 70 pounds, maybe that might be a little bit more difficult for her to do,” Machete said.

The Peel Children’s Aid Society says confidentiality rules prevent it from commenting on the case. The organization is due to meet with William’s parents on Friday to try to work out an arrangement.

Source: CBC

Couple with cerebral palsy fighting to keep child

Two Mississauga parents may lose their infant because they both have cerebral palsy.

Maricyl Palisoc and Charles Wilton are fighting to keep their baby after the Children's Aid Society threatened to take the boy away.

Cerebral palsy limits their motor skills and slurs their speech, but it has no effect on their cognitive skills.

CAS is demanding that the couple get an "able" person to provide 24-hour care for William.

Ryan Machete, a program co-ordinator with the Coalition for Persons with Disabilities, is now helping the couple with their struggle.

The organization has agreed to pay for care for three weeks and they are putting together a fundraiser to help with a long-term plan.

Machete says the couple is very able to care for the child.

"It's about perception," Machete says. "It's wrong. It's a perception that is incorrect of what the ability to provide care for this child is."

He compliments CAS on their work, which he calls difficult, and Machete says he understands they would be afraid to "let one slip by."

But he says the definition of an able-bodied person has things spiraling out of control.

"The definition of an able-bodied person, in their eyes, is a PSW, a personal support worker or it's anyone who doesn't have a disability," Machete says. "But one in six Canadians has a disability."

"It's a very dangerous precedent they're trying to set. It's going to really backfire because you're going to have 15 per cent of the population saying, 'Hold on a second, are you saying I'm not allowed to have kids?' "

Source: Newstalk 1010

Defending the Family

May 1, 2012 permalink

Iowa father Nicholas Augustine fired a gun to chase away a social worker molesting protecting his family.



Man accused of firing gun at social worker

INDIANOLA -- A rural Indianola man faces several charges, including attempted murder, for allegedly shooting at a social worker.

Authorities said Nicholas Augustine, 32, fired Friday at the 26-year-old woman employed by the Iowa Department of Human Services and chased her from his property.

Augustine was being held Saturday in the Warren County jail on $35,000 bond.

Source: THO online

Addendum:Later news identified the social worker as Sundi Smith.

earlier news