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Social Workers are not Nazis
August 29, 2012 permalink
Facebook has removed a page that showed social workers next to Nazi swastikas. Facebook is not commenting on why, but the enclosed article from a social worker website claims it is because of complaints from social workers. It might also be because Nazis objected to the slanderous comparison. An associated website UK Social Workers Exposed is still active.
Social workers secure Facebook victory over 'vile' hate site
Facebook said the social work hate site did not comply with its rules
Complaints by social workers led Facebook to ban a 'vile and offensive' web page that published social workers' names and photographs online alongside Nazi imagery.
The Facebook page, called UK Social Workers Exposed, featured Nazi symbolism and claimed to expose social workers' identities in the best interests of parents and children. “Here on this website we will expose the social workers that have stolen and continue to steal the children of the UK,” the site’s mission statement reads.
The names and photographs of around 20 social workers and Cafcass guardians were on the site and a related facebook page, with the site's creators asking web users to share more names.
Some photographs include further details, such as the number of children the social worker is believed to have taken into care.
After being alerted to the site by Community Care on Twitter and Facebook, social workers complained to Facebook asking them to remove the site.
In a statement to Community Care, a Facebook spokesman said: "The page has been removed as it broke Facebook’s terms as set out in our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Whilst we don’t comment on individual cases, content can be removed for a number of reasons such as infringements of intellectual property or being created by a fake account."
However, while the Facebook site is now down, the associated website is still live.
Community Care understands that one local authority is considering taking legal action against the website, on the grounds that it incites violence and hatred. The College of Social Work (TCSW) is contacting employers whose staff have been named.
Social workers expressed their outrage on social networking sites, with many urging colleagues to ensure they have protected the personal information they store online.
Nushra Mansuri, professional officer at the British Association of Social Workers, said she was “sickened” by the site, which she described as “vile” and “disturbing”.
“BASW roundly condemns the organisation calling itself UK Social Workers Exposed. Such websites should be removed as they incite hatred and worse against a number of professional groups involved in child protection, including social workers.
She continued: “I actually think the same laws applicable to dealing with for example, far right groups need to be applied. Websites of this kind have no place in a democratic society and expose its proponents as those who do not value the rights of children to be protected by the state when they are being abused.”
Ruth Allen, spokesperson for TCSW, said the College "strongly condemns this offensive website, which seems to be targeting and ‘exposing’ a random list of social workers, many of them simply because they work in the field of child protection".
Source: Community Care
Addendum: A news source reports the story, but gives only the social worker side.
Anger as social workers are exposed on website
SOCIAL workers who have investigated cases where children were removed from unfit families are being ‘named and shamed’ on a website branded ‘deplorable’ by officials.
Sheffield and Derbyshire social services staff are identified on the website, which The Star has decided not to name.
Both councils are now taking legal advice about what action they can take to have the names removed.
The website, which proclaims ‘Judgement Day is Coming Social Services’, includes pictures of individual social workers and links to their profiles on social networking website Facebook.
It accuses the staff of ‘stealing’ children.
The website says: “This Government Gestapo organisation is stealing children using bullying and threatening behaviour against vulnerable parents to remove their children with unfounded accusations and lies.”
Jayne Ludlam, of Sheffield Council, said: “Social work is a challenging job which involves working with families in often difficult circumstances, where no decision is ever taken lightly.
“All decisions relating to the legal status of children or removing them must meet the court threshold and a judge makes the final decision.
“Social workers are professionals and there are proper, official channels through which they are held publicly accountable for their actions.
“Web pages like this are deplorable and do not benefit any party involved whether they are the worker, the parents or the child.”
A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “Social workers have a tough job to do. We only take action to remove children from their parents after the courts have decided we should do so.
“Websites like this are unhelpful and we are looking into what action we can take to get details of our staff removed.”
Nobody from the website was available for comment.
Source: The Star (UK)
Social workers are appealing to UK government bodies for help in getting rid of the UK Social Workers Exposed website. They are also contemplating legal action.
Governments slam 'appalling' social worker hate site
Creators of UK Social Workers Exposed urged to reconsider their actions and warned that undermining social workers increases risks to children.
Governments across the UK have condemned the "appalling" website that has exposed social workers and other professionals involved in care proceedings.
They urged the creators of UK Social Workers Exposed to reconsider their actions and warned that undermining the work of social workers placed children at risk. The site's creators claim social workers and other professionals are "stealing" children from families through the child protection system.
The interventions by the Westminster and Scottish governments follows news that employers of social workers named on the site are considering legal action to remove the names, and the decision by Facebook to remove a page set up by the site's creators following complaints by social workers.
“We rely on our social workers," said a spokesperson for the UK government's Department for Education. "Every day they make difficult decisions about to how keep vulnerable children safe, often in very challenging circumstances. Any attempt to undermine their hard work is appalling, and risks the safety of thousands of children.”
“The Scottish government would urge the creators of this site to reconsider their actions," said a spokesperson for the Holyrood administration. "If a member of the public has a genuine complaint about a social worker, they should speak to their local authority about their concerns.”
Northern Ireland's Department of Health also backed the role of social workers though it did not comment on UK Social Workers Exposed.
"Social workers do a very challenging job on behalf of society to promote and safeguard the well-being and safety of children and vulnerable adults," said a spokesperson. "They work in partnership with families and with other professionals and agencies to assess and meet people’s needs."
Source: Community Care
Foster Meth Lab
August 28, 2012 permalink
Michigan CPS placed an adoptive child and two foster children in a home operating a meth lab.
Orangeville man throws burning meth lab out the back door as police come to the front door, police say
ORANGEVILLE TOWNSHIP — When police officers interrupted an Orangeville Township man's process of cooking methamphetamine, he threw the burning components out the back door of his house — not realizing that more troopers were stationed there as well, according to a news release from the Michigan State Police.
As troopers from the Wayland Post/Hastings approached the Orangeville Township home on Keller Road at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday to pick up a suspect, in his 30s, on an outstanding warrant, the man they sought attempted to destroy an active meth lab by setting it on fire and throwing it out the back door of the house, according to the news release.
The man eventually was convinced by police to come outside, and was arrested on the outstanding warrant. Charges of operating and maintaining a meth lab are being sought as well, the news release said.
The man's wife and three children — an adopted child and infant twins still in the adoption process — were at home at the time. The children were taken to the hospital for evaluation. Child Protective Services is investigating the incident, according to the news release.
Father Gets Daughter from Social Worker
August 26, 2012 permalink
When citizenship laws make parents and their children citizens of different countries, the usual outcome is permanent separation. In today's exceptional case Mexican father Jesus Ramirez got custody of his US citizen three-year-old daughter Maria Ramirez. One sleazy sidebar: an Idaho caseworker wanted to adopt the girl.
Idaho girl whose custody battle played out in state courts reunited with father in Mexico
BOISE, Idaho — A young girl whose custody case was ultimately decided by the Idaho Supreme Court traveled to Mexico earlier this week to begin living with a father she had never met before.
Maria Ramirez, 3, flew to Mexico on Monday and was handed over to her father, Jesus Ramirez, to begin a new life with him and his family in Salamanca, a small town in central Mexico, according to officials with the Consulate of Mexico in Boise.
In April, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that a lower court erred in severing the man’s parental rights even though he had never met his daughter, initially came to the U.S. illegally and was barred from ever returning. The Idaho Department of Health and Human Services argued to have the father’s custody rights severed as the agency explored placement options for the child after officials removed the girl from the mother’s home.
Mexican officials in Boise cheered the girl’s transfer to her father’s custody and the legal process that affirmed the rights of birth parents over questions of a parent’s immigration status.
“As you might imagine, it was a very emotional moment for the father,” said Mexican Consulate in Boise spokesman Sebastian A. Galvan Duque, whose colleagues were part of the team who traveled with the girl to Guadaljara this week.
“The (Supreme Court) decision sets forth an important precedent for similar cases in Idaho and strengthens the judicial framework which allows non-citizen parents to continue enjoying their parental rights,” he said.
Robb Tilley, the Nampa attorney who helped on the case of Jesus Ramirez, did not immediately return messages left by The Associated Press on Thursday.
Ramirez married an Idaho woman in 2007, years after illegally entering the United States, according to court records. About a year later, he was forced by court order to return to Mexico and was joined on the trip by his wife. She became pregnant shortly afterward but returned to Idaho and gave birth to Maria in November 2008.
Jesus Ramirez tried to rejoin his family in March 2009, but was caught in Arizona and returned to Mexico, court documents show. That same month, Maria Ramirez was removed from her mother’s home in Middleton, a small town in southwest Idaho, amid allegations of abuse and neglect. She was subsequently placed in protective custody after state officials found the mother wasn’t providing adequate care.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare then began working on a case plan for the mother, aimed at reuniting mother and daughter. But at the same time, the father began seeking information and reached out to the agency, telling a caseworker he wanted his daughter to live with him.
By early 2010, the mother showed no signs of progress, prompting the state to begin terminating her custody rights. Agency officials also sought to terminate the father’s parental rights, claiming he abandoned the child.
At the time, Maria Ramirez was living with a foster family whose mother was an employee at the agency and willing to provide a permanent home. Agency officials also claimed keeping the child in the U.S. was in her best, long-term interests.
Jesus Ramirez argued against the state’s plan and initially lost when a magistrate judge determined that he couldn’t support the child financially.
But the state Supreme Court disagreed and even questioned the state’s motives in noting an agency employee had hopes of adopting the girl.
Tom Shanahan, spokesman for IDHW, said the court’s ruling also reaffirmed an important lesson for the agency: the primacy of parental rights.
“It’s the kind of thing that we’ll for sure be paying more attention to, especially in situations like this ... when we have someone we’re dealing with who doesn’t live in the country,” Shanahan said.
Source: Washington Post
August 23, 2012 permalink
Burlington teacher Carol Shepherd has been charged with two counts of sexual misconduct. The charges came after a complaint from the Halton CAS. There is no way to know whether this is a pervert teacher or a case of a vengeful accusation.
Former Halton teacher criminally charged with sexually exploiting a student between 2005 and 2010
BURLINGTON, ON August 23, 2012 The Halton Children’s Aid Society has investigated a complaint against a Halton Board of Education teacher thought to be sexually exploiting a student. Halton Regional Police recently arrested Carol Shepherd, 48, of Burlington, Ontario and charged her with one count of Sexual Exploitation and one count of Sexual Assault in connection with incidents which occurred between 2005 and 2010.
Former Halton Board of Education teacher charged with sexual exploitation
During this time, the accused was employed as a teacher for the Halton District School Board. As of June 2012, the accused was no longer employed by the HDSB.
Police do not believe there are further victims attributed to the accused.
Anyone with additional information is requested to contact D/Cst Charlotte Zarowny at 905-465-8979, or an investigator in the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Bureau at 905-465-8970.
Source: Our Burlington(web newspaper)
Foster Care is Unethical
August 21, 2012 permalink
Medical anthropologist Caroline Tait has studied the foster care system. Her finding that kids are moved dozens of times means that they will all eventually encounter an abusive foster home. She characterizes the foster care system as unethical. On another line of inquiry, she found a list of 50 recommendations submitted by the Saskatchewan Children's Advocate Office earlier this year to be nearly identical to recommendations submitted twenty years ago. Nothing ever really gets fixed.
Researcher: Sask. foster care system 'unethical'
University of Saskatchewan professor examines the ethics of foster care
It is assumed that when a child is placed in foster care, they are being taken away from harm and no longer at risk.
But a University of Saskatchewan researcher says kids experience abuse and neglect within the system because of the policies in place.
"I think we can all agree that a child who has moved ten, twenty, thirty times in care, that that's unethical," said associate professor Caroline Tait, a medical anthropologist who studies the role of ethics for children in foster care.
"When we look at what that does to a person's sense of self, it has a huge, enormous mental health impact," said Tait to an audience at the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations health conference in Saskatoon today.
Tait and her team of researchers have interviewed dozens of people who have been apprehended by social services and moved around. Their data shows that children are more likely to come in contact with an abusive foster parent when they are consistently uprooted.
And the trauma often extends into the classroom.
"We need to look at the stigma associated with being the child who is the foster care child who's coming in half way through the school year," she said.
While Tait does acknowledge there are positive changes happening, she said there are still a number of things that that are not being done well.
Her team combed through 50 years of child welfare reports and discovered that the recommendations submitted to the province by the Children's Advocate Office earlier this year are nearly identical to a list of changes requested twenty years ago.
"What we're trying to do is to follow the life of those recommendations."
If we invest within these reports and invest money in coming up with policy recommendations, we want to see what happens to them, Tait said.
Source: News Talk 980 CJME
25 Years of Childhood
August 21, 2012 permalink
Children's aid is anxious to expand its business by including children up to the age of 25. An article showing Durham CAS executive director Wanda Secord providing loving help to Anna Ho is enclosed. Mrs Secord was previously in our columns for her ignorance about the credentials of fake psychologist, and so-called Doctor, Gregory Carter. For the niggardly size of CAS support to students, refer earlier articles on bursaries:   .
Jillian Follert | Aug 20, 2012 - 4:30 AM
Durham Children's Aid Society: 25 is the new 21
Advocates lobby to extend financial supports for former youths in care
DURHAM -- In many ways, Anna Ho is like any other university student.
The 19 year old loves living in her own apartment in Toronto, frets over the cost of tuition and textbooks and is excited to start her second year in the social work program at Ryerson University.
But unlike most of her classmates, she can't turn to mom and dad when the cash starts running low. There isn't a parental home to return to for Sunday night dinners or a quick load of laundry.
"I've lived on my own since I was 16," she says matter of factly. "It was really hard at first ... there were a lot of challenges. Now I like it a lot. But it can still be hard."â?¨ Ms. Ho became a crown ward at age 14 has been supported by the Durham Children's Aid Society for the past three years.
Even though technically an adult now, she is still able to access "extended care and maintenance" funds through the agency until she turns 21.
The money is intended to help youth who were formerly crown wards make the transition to adulthood.
But at a time when many youths rely on mom and dad well into their 20s, critics say 21 is too soon to be cut off.
"A lot of people are freaking out in the months leading up to their 21st birthday," Ms. Ho says. "They worry they're going to end up couch surfing, or going to a homeless shelter or even living on the street."
DCAS has joined a growing chorus calling on the Province to extend financial supports to age 25.
"Our future is our young people," says DCAS executive director Wanda Secord. "If we want to have a strong community we need them to be safe and successful ... but that's hard when they're completely on their own at 21."
In 2006, 44 per cent of young adults between the ages of 20 and 29 lived with their parents, up from 32 per cent 20 years earlier.
The number of youth ages 20 to 24 living at home was 60 per cent.
More adult children are also moving back home within five years of initially leaving -- triple the rate of two generations ago.
Irwin Elman, the provincial advocate for children and youth, says former crown wards "aging out" of care face major challenges.
"They often leave the system alone, they don't have many friends or supportive adults in their life," he explains. "They're dropping off the edge of the world with nobody. It's one of the most difficult things we ask these young people to do."
A recent report called "25 is the new 21" includes Canada's first ever cost-benefit analysis on extending financial support for former crown wards to age 25.
It says these youths are less likely to have a high school diploma, go on to post-secondary education or earn a living wage.
On the flip side they are more likely to live in poverty, be homeless, experience mental health issues or find themselves in conflict with the law.
Mr. Elman says extending support to 25 will save money in the long run if it means successfully launching these youth into adulthood.
According to the report, for every $1 the Province spends to extend support to age 25, taxpayers will save an estimated $1.36.
Mr. Elman plans to bring the issue to Durham regional council and its health and social services committee this fall.
"This is not how we would treat our own children, this is not how we should treat the Province's children," he noted.
Source: Metroland, Durham Region
Addendum: Here is another version of Anna Ho's story, along with an archival news report of her mother's murder.
Ryerson Crown ward calls for child welfare changes.
During a Ryerson social work course at the beginning of this semester, instructor Charlene Avalos gave her students an exercise to explore what common privileges or disadvantages people face in society. It was a way for students to think about how to break down societal barriers, said Avalos.
Avalos asked students to go to different parts of the classroom that best represented how they were raised, depending on whether they grew up with both their biological parents, one of them, extended family, foster parents, or with adults who were not their immediate parents.
As the students scurried about to join their respective factions, Anna Ho, a second-year social work student, stayed in her seat in the middle of the classroom and felt tears well up in her eyes. She said she didn’t feel she belonged in any part of the classroom.
“When I visualized it, I was struck back and wow, I realized how different I was,” said Ho, who became a Crown ward after living in a series of “kinship homes” following the death of her mother. “Not having parents at all is so hard because you know that everybody else has family to go to for Christmas.”
Crown wards are children who have been permanently separated from their biological parents for a number of reasons including abuse, neglect or death. Their legal guardian becomes the province. They may live in group homes, foster homes or in kinship homes where the children have some prior familiarity with the adults in the home. The province pays financial support to the children, and a caseworker is assigned to help them with any counselling they need.
There are approximately 8,300 Crown wards in Ontario. A 2008 report compiled by the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies says that only 44 per cent of them graduate from high school, compared with an 81 per cent average in Ontario. Of those who complete high school, only 23 per cent make it to post-secondary education.
Students with Ho’s background as Crown wards make up less than one per cent of Ontario’s post-secondary student population.
After seeing that Ho was unique among her peers, Avalos asked her if she would like to share with the class her experience raising herself. Ho told her classmates that, without parents, children are forced to grow up much faster.
The story of how Ho, 19, came into the care of the province goes back to June 2007 when her mother’s common-law partner fatally stabbed her mother and grandmother before turning the knife on himself. Ho, then 13, was at home in Scarborough when it happened on the night of her Grade 8 graduation ceremony. She ran outside covered in blood and nearly collapsed on her neighbour’s lawn. She still bears a scar on her left hand from trying to protect her mother and grandmother.
As headlines around the country recounted the double murder-suicide, Ho said she greeted the well-wishers at her mom’s funeral with a smile.
“I would always pretend I’m really happy,” said Ho. “But on the inside, it’s so different compared to what my face is telling you. At the time, it was a defence mechanism for me. I didn’t want to show vulnerability to people.”
Ho has been in the news again recently — this time because she has been part of an unprecedented movement calling for sweeping reforms to the provincial child welfare system. Ho, along with several other youth in care, contributed to a 2012 report from Ontario’s child advocate’s office calling for these changes.
The report, titled My Real Life Book, led to the creation of a government-appointed panel that released a blueprint of recommendations in January. The blueprint makes several proposals for the government, including providing financial and emotional support to Crown wards up to age 25 instead of 21, funding their post-secondary education, making adoption a priority, and supporting extracurricular activities while they are in care.
The Liberal government has already started working to turn some of these recommendations into a reality. Ryerson University is one of 11 post-secondary institutions that have partnered with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, to provide a maximum of $6,000 in tuition bursary to Crown wards.
Last month, the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children presented Ho and the other youth who worked on the report with a Children’s Rights Trailblazer award at Queen’s Park.
Ho said Crown wards are always disadvantaged in some way because of a lack of family support. She would like the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to develop a mentorship program with professionals who can advise Crown wards of all their options at any stage in life. The emotional support provided by a caseworker is simply not consistent, she said, because caseworkers are responsible for dozens of children with varying needs spread out across a large region, and they have their own lives.
After her mom died, Ho couldn’t turn to her mother’s sisters for help because previous family tensions had created an atmosphere of mistrust. One aunt even blamed the young teen for the abuse her stepfather rained down on her, said Ho. Her older brother, although an adult at 18, was too unsettled to take care of her. Ho’s abusive father had been out of the picture since her mother had left him in Hong Kong and moved to Canada with her two children when Ho was six.
Ho’s church minister asked a family in her congregation if the teen could live with them near downtown Toronto. The family did not want the responsibility of another child, said Ho, but consented to lease her a room. Ho moved out to live on her own at 16. She quickly learned to budget, buy her own groceries, cook for herself and discipline herself to keep up with her school work.
“My mom was always stressing about me doing well in school. So I always kept really good grades in school because I know how much my mom valued that,” said Ho.
“But also because I know that I don’t have anything else in my future — I need to work hard.”
Ho rarely got to socialize during her teenage years because of the time constraints resulting from taking responsibility for her own care, and a lack of money. Yet today, she is a contemporary and hip-hop dancer with impeccable social skills, smiling easily and maintaining eye contact with the people she interacts with.
Approximately five feet tall and a little over 100 pounds, her petite form belies the boundless energy and poise Ho appears to have as she runs from one appointment to another. She speaks passionately about persuading the provincial government to improve the lives of the children in its care as well as the youth who are leaving care.
While completing her undergraduate degree at Ryerson, Ho works part time at the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth on Bay Street. She acts as an ambassador to promote the My Real Life Book report, and liases with the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
From her office window on the 22nd floor, Ho enjoys the sight of children skating at Nathan Phillips Square below. She feels a pang of desire when she sees children happily spending time with their parents, but reminds herself that she can’t change her past.
“It’s always about thinking ahead and moving forward,” she said. “I always have to try to keep my mind that way. Otherwise, I would be in a state of hopelessness and I’m not going to get myself in that situation.”
Ho said she recognizes that traumatic experiences at different stages of people’s lives prevent some from achieving the same successes she has.
“There are struggles, but there are also successes even within the same person,” she said. “There are little successes and big successes. Even getting yourself to school can be a success for some people.”
Crown wards receive care until they turn 18, but can apply for what is called “extended care maintenance” until age 21. By 18, the majority of Crown wards have been unable to finish high school due to mental health or emotional issues, and a number of them end up homeless, in prisons, in mental institutions or on welfare. Almost 70 per cent of homeless youth come from foster homes or group homes.
Ho said she feels strongly that Crown wards would have a better chance of graduating from high school and standing on their own two feet if the province were to provide financial and emotional support to the age of 25.
“If they graduate high school, they are more likely to go on to get higher education, and get a job and contribute back to society again,” she said. “A lot of them will end up working and paying taxes. So instead of the province using taxpayer money to pay for mental health and adult welfare, give them the tools to become productive members of society. There needs to be consistency and equal opportunities for young people.
“The state is the Crown wards’ parent. So, why not?”
Source: Ryerson School of Journalism
Killer moody before rampage
Neighbours recalled how Alton Beckford went from being a happy, smiling and helpful man to becoming brooding and resentful after losing his job five weeks ago. Monday Beckford killed his wife and her mother before killing himself in their Scarborough home.
Anna Ho wore a pink dress, her hair in curls, and nails painted as her stepfather, Alton Beckford, proudly snapped pictures of her in the school's gymnasium decorated for graduation. She was on the Grade 8 honour roll.
His hair freshly cut, Beckford wore pressed trousers and a dress shirt for the occasion.
"Everybody seemed happy," said neighbour Ria Hosein whose family was also at the graduation Monday night. Her daughter was in Anna Ho's class at Thomas L. Wells Public School in Scarborough.
But neighbours had sensed things hadn't been right at the family's Knowles Dr. home. Their fears were confirmed Monday night when emergency personnel arrived around 9:30 p.m. and discovered the bodies of Beckford, his common-law wife, Amy Ho, and her mother, believed to be 78.
Beckford had stabbed his wife and her mother before turning the weapon on himself, police said.
After leaving the graduation ceremony early, Beckford, 32, Amy Ho, 47, and 13-year-old Anna drove the few blocks back to Knowles Dr., a quiet street in a subdivision near Morningside Ave. and Finch Ave. E.
Hosein said she thought it odd that when she returned home shortly before 9 p.m. she saw Beckford around the side of his house still dressed up. Odder still, thought Lola, another neighbour, he had resumed watering the front lawn after the ceremony.
The next thing neighbours remembered seeing was Anna running out of the two-storey brick house, her hands and face spattered in blood. "She was screaming, `My mom is dying,'" said Hosein, standing on the front porch next to her husband, Tony, who had been sitting on the porch when the screaming girl ran to them for help.
"She said she told him to stop."
Yesterday the concrete remained stained with blood drops the size of quarters. A chair smeared with blood leaned against the house.
Several nearby residents, including Tony Hosein, called 911.
When police arrived around 9:30 p.m. they believed a killer was on the loose so the Emergency Task Force was called in and a manhunt began. But that was eventually called off and by dawn homicide investigators acknowledged that what they were dealing with was a double murder-suicide.
Anna was treated in hospital and released into the care of her aunt, neighbours said.
Anna's brother, Peter, a student who is either 17 or 18, was not home at the time and arrived later.
It's believed Anna and Peter's biological father lives in Hong Kong.
Neighbours recalled yesterday how Beckford went from being a happy, smiling and helpful man to becoming brooding and resentful after losing his job five weeks ago.
Retiree Lalta Persaud, who lives across the street, said until recently, Beckford worked as a sewing machine technician for a company that makes mattresses. His common-law wife also worked there and was on the job the day she died.
"He told me he wasn't happy about the way they treated him because he spoke up about things in the workplace and was fired," Persaud said. Among the things Beckford had complained about was speeding forklifts.
Beckford told him he'd gone to the union but was bitterly disappointed. "They gave him no satisfaction."
A few days ago, Beckford made a chilling threat. "He told me he's going to kill somebody there," Persaud said. Persaud urged Beckford to look for another job. "I told him there are lots of jobs," Persaud said. He dismissed Beckford's threats of returning to work to kill someone.
But Persaud also noticed Beckford had become strangely protective of Anna since he was let go, driving her to and from school.
Several neighbours said Beckford, who they believed has family in the west end, had come to them complaining of headaches.
Lola works with mentally ill patients and said it was clear he was depressed. "I could see he was suffering big time."
She liked him a lot and said he treated the children well. She pointed to the basketball net at the end of the family driveway.
"He bought that for all the neighbourhood kids," she said, shaking her head. "Something must have taken over him yesterday."
But she said there may have been earlier demons. Lola recalled Beckford resenting a woman who had dumped him after he brought her to Canada from Jamaica. She also said he was disappointed about not having children of his own.
Source: Toronto Star
August 20, 2012 permalink
Amanda Sadowsky died ten days after receiving routine vaccinations. Her father Elwood Sadowsky is serving life in prison for murder by shaken baby.
Man Serving Life for Killing his Baby Daughter Could be Innocent!
Just a few years ago Tonya and Elwood Sadowsky believed that life could not get any better after Tonya gave birth to a beautiful baby girl Amanda. For the first time ever the couple were happier than they ever thought possible. Sadly, their happiness was cut short when aged just four months old Amanda died unexpectedly. Elwood was immediately arrested and charged for his daughter's murder because he was caring for his daughter at the time she was taken ill.
Amazingly, in June 2007, without ever having a trial, Elwood Sadowsky was jailed for life for Shaken Baby Syndrome. According to wife Tonya, Elwood was forced into taking a guilty plea a few days before the trial was due to have started. He was threatened by the prosecution and emotionally blackmailed by his own lawyers. This was due to the fact that his lawyers did not know how to defend him! Tonya says:
"They literally didn't know anything about 'Shaken Baby Syndrome' and believed the doctors' diagnosis which was: homicidal blunt force trauma."
Tonya says the day Amanda became ill was just like any other day, although Amanda had been a little off colour since her vaccinations ten days earlier. As usual Tonya left Amanda with her father and went to work. At 2 p.m. Elwood called Tonya at work, saying that he had fallen and broken a coffee table. Tonya thought this was unusual but thought little more about the call. Then at 3:15 pm a distressed Elwood called again saying that he had been in the bedroom and had accidentally dropped Amanda. Amanda's head was swelling and that she was having trouble breathing.
I would like to point out that at no time had Elwood ever been abusive to either his wife or his daughter. In fact Tonya told me that he was one of the gentlest men she knew and he absolutely doted on little Amanda.
Sadly Elwood never saw his daughter again. Amanda was rushed to hospital and then transferred to another hospital by helicopter. She was unresponsive and not breathing. Tonya explained:
"Elwood was detained by the police as the ambulance took Amanda away on June 29, 2007. When she died after midnight on the 30th they gleefully arrested him but he'd been in custody the entire time. He was never freed again after that".
Amanda died from multiple skull fractures and the triad of injuries associated with Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) which are Retinal haemorrhages (bleeding into the linings of the eyes); subdural haemorrhages (bleeding beneath the dural membrane); Encephalopathy (damage to the brain affecting function).
The question is did Elwood Sadowsky deliberately kill his daughter or was her death the result of a series of tragic circumstances?
Dr John Lloyd Ph.D., M.Erg.S., CPE, CBIS Board Certified Ergonomist & Certified Brain Injury Specialist is one of a growing number of professionals to have turned his back on the SBS theory and diagnosis.
He has published a series of papers which raise the possibility that Elwood did not deliberately kill his daughter and in fact her death could have been a tragic accident.
In a paper titled 'Biomechanics of Household Short Falls in Infants and Children.' (1) Dr Lloyd explains how short falls or an accidental drop of a child of up to 2ft 6inches onto varying floor surfaces including concrete landing face up can lead to fatal head injuries.
He demonstrates this by studying systematic assessments of falls in a supine (face up) position from heights ranging from 2 to 6 ft in 2ft increments onto varying flooring surfaces using A CRABI-12 biofidelic mannequin (29.5 in / 22lb and a Hybrid III-3 year old (37.2in / 35.65lb) biofidelic mannequin. Using the mannequins he assesses various short falls onto several surfaces studying in detail one-hundred-and-seventy-five trials to investigate the biomechanical mechanisms of injury associated with short falls in children
He concludes that:
"As anticipated, the larger Hybrid III 3-year old biofidelic mannequin generated higher linear accelerations, HIC values and forces upon impact associated with short falls. Interestingly, both the CRABI12 infant-representative and Hybrid III toddler representative exceeded injury threshold values from a fall height of only 2 feet (61 cm), based on RMS linear acceleration and Head Injury Criterion, which indicates that such short falls can cause substantial head / brain injuries in young children". (1)
Furthermore in another study Dr Lloyd studied in detail how shaking a child even violently is unlikely to produce the triad of injuries associated with Shaken Baby Syndrome. and proved his theory by describing a biomechanical evaluation which was performed to quantify kinematic variables associated with various infant shaking techniques. He compares these techniques to a series of pediatric activities of daily living.
Firstly, that infant shaking produces head motions that are far below the levels required to cause injury in children
Secondly, head motion during vigorous shaking is very similar to head motion while a 7-month-old infant plays in his jumparoo and there are no recorded cases of head injury attributed to such playful activity
Thirdly, playing in the jumparoo causes repetitive head motion of a frequency similar to that experienced during shaking. Thus repetitive head motion does not increase risk of brain injury.
Finally, that the NCSBS demonstration doll is an unsuitable infant representative. (2)
So how did little Amanada die?
There were three important facts that were not investigated by the police or by the hospital that may have contributed to Amanda's death.
Fact 1: Amanda had reacted adversely to each and every one of her vaccinations:
Examining the timeline of this case an extremely important fact emerges. It is obvious to even the untrained eye that this baby suffered adverse reactions after each vaccination. Her first possible reaction was noted within 24 hours of the Hepatitis B vaccine which she received at birth. Tonya said:
"When she got the Hep B, I wasn't told. She was wheeled into my room SCREAMING her full head off, thrust into my arms with the comment, "She's upsetting the other (inmates) babies in the nursery".
"She was jaundiced by the next day."
In his report Dr Buttram wrote:
"On the next day, Feb. 17th, according to mother's notes, Amanda was brought in to her from the nursery screaming, as "she was bothering the other babies in the nursery," suggestive of an encephalalitic reaction to the hepatitis B vaccine, something rarely recognized for its true nature."
An encephalalitic reaction after the Hepatitis B vaccine is well documented and is a reaction discussed in many papers. Professionals often refer to high pitched screaming or seizures shortly after this vaccination, indicating a problem. Neil Z Miller an American medical research journalist, anti-vaccine and natural health advocate wrote the following in the Vaccine Safety Manual. (3)
"Many of the mothers noticed that their children had a high-pitched cry soon after their vaccination or vaccinations. This is called the encephalitic cry, meaning that it is caused by an inflamed, swollen brain. It also explains the difficulty many mothers have in waking their children, the vomiting, passing out and irritability following vaccinations. These are all signs of an inflamed brain."
Did Amanda suffer from this reaction and was this the reason that baby Amanda was so distressed? If so the injuries found just weeks later may have been caused by the Hepatitis B vaccine, however, this possibility this was never investigated.
Amanda never really recovered and although the jaundice subsided, loud night breathing was noted at 2 weeks. Amanda was also treated for GERD or reflux, as she was vomiting at regular intervals throughout the day.
By the age of 8 weeks she was still vomiting and had constipation but despite this she still received routine multiple vaccinations. According to the timeline Amanda had a fever the night of her vaccinations and she also developed diarrhea. The next day Amanda was reported to have had screaming and crying fits with gassiness and diarrhea. The screaming continued over several days. Amanda also developed yeasty neck folds and was placed on Benadryl for a facial rash. On 25th May 2007 she was seen by a doctor who said that her screaming fits were caused by reflux.
On the19thJune 2007 she received the following routine childhood vaccinations.
Eleven days later Amanda died.
"I told one doctor I thought she had a headache (postmortem) and I was laughed at. Then I got my own TDaP in 2008 and I moved my eyes to the right and experienced an excruciating headache that made me gasp and hold my head while squeezing my eyes tight. It freaked out my roommate and me. I know for a FACT that's what happened to my daughter after her second month shots."
Tonya's claims were never investigated.
Each one of the vaccines this baby was given has a long history of adverse reactions. These adverse reactions include encephalitis, convulsions, uncontrollable screaming, exceptionally high temperatures, severe brain damage, and death. The common denominators linking all these vaccines are various chemicals and toxins known to be harmful to humans.
Dr Viera Scheibner believes that reactions to routine childhood vaccinations have caused an epidemic of parents being falsely accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome (4)
Recently there has been quite an "epidemic" of the so-called "shaken baby syndrome". Parents, usually the fathers, or other care-givers such as nannies have increasingly been accused of shaking a baby to the point of causing permanent brain damage and death.
While investigating the personal medical history of these babies based on the care-giver's diaries and medical records, I quickly established that these babies were given one or more of the series of so-called routine shots-hepatitis B, DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus), polio and HIB (Haemophilus influenzae type B--shortly before they developed symptoms of illness resulting in serious brain damage or death."
Dr Michael Innis another professional who has speaking out about false accusations of SBS after vaccinations for many years wrote:(5):
"More than a quarter of a century ago I submitted a paper entitled "Oncogenesis and Poliomyelitis Vaccine" to the Editor of the BMJ. It was rejected. Today there are numerous reports of individuals with one or other form of malignancy attributable to Simian virus 40 contaminated Poliomyelitis vaccine administered in childhood .My paper was eventually published in Nature having been rejected by another well known Medical Journal. And of course it, and I, were roundly criticized by the Establishment. Andrew Wakefield and V.J. Singh will know the feeling.
Now the public are suspicious about other vaccines and history is repeating itself. My paper on "Coagulopathy mistaken for Shaken Baby Syndrome" was rejected – it recorded the case of a child given six vaccines on the same day and who was ill with fever, irritability and diarrhoea the next day and was dead three weeks later."
Many professionals would agree with him and worry that parents are being falsely accused as a convenient way to cover up vaccine damage. These include Dr Harold Buttram, Lisa Blakemore-Brown, Dr Viera Scheibner, Dr Rebecca Carley, Dr Patrick Barnes, and many more.
Fact 2: Elwood suffered from Moyamoya disease:
Another crucial piece of evidence which could prove that Elwood was innocent was the fact that he suffered from the genetic condition Moyamoya disease. Moyamoya disease can cause sufferers to experience dizziness, blackouts and mini strokes.
In a report Dr Buttram wrote:
"Based on these descriptions of Moyamoya disease, Amanda's father may have been experiencing transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) during the series of mishaps that occurred on June 29th, with his stumbling over and destroying a coffee table at 2:00 pm and dropping Amanda a little later (3:15 pm)."
Researching moyamoya I found the following information (6).
Adults often experience a hemorrhagic stroke due to recurring blood clots in the affected brain vessels. Individuals with this disorder may have disturbed consciousness, speech deficits (usually aphasia), sensory and cognitive impairments, involuntary movements, and vision problems.
Moyamoya, can be an hereditary disease often found in Japanese descents, Elwood was half Japanese and both he and his sister suffered from the disease. If Elwood had suffered a number of mini TIA's (Strokes) on the day that Amanda was taken ill then it is plausible he dropped Amanda through disturbed consciousness and not through wanting to harm the infant.
Amazingly however, Elwood's condition was not taken into consideration and Amanda was never tested for the condition despite it being hereditary.
Fact 3: Tonya was given Oxytocin during labor:
Another important fact was that Tonya was put on a Pitocin (Oxytocin) drip during labor. Pitocin is a synthetic form of the hormone Oxytocin and is often referred to as the 'Love Hormone' because it is released during a female orgasm.
Sadly few mothers are told of the possible side effects of this drug which include - fetal asphyxia and neonatal hypoxia, physical injury and neonatal jaundice. The use of pitocin also might be a factor in cerebral palsy from deprived oxygen and autism according to the website 'Massage Today' (7)
Did Tonya's Oxytocin drip damage cause Amanda brain damage?
Once again this issue was not raised because Elwood did not have a trial.
Dr Buttram concluded in his report:
"As reviewed in some detail above, there are plausible alternate explanations for each and every pathologic autopsy finding in the case of Amanda Sadowsky, other than inflicted parental child abuse."
Tonya says that she disgusted that at no time was this case ever investigated. She expected the police and medical teams to do their job and find out the truth. Instead, like so often is the case, when SBS is the diagnosis, the parent or care giver has to find the truth themselves before begging for an appeal. In this case the appeal is so that Elwood can actually have a trial. Tonya says:
"I had to go through it alone, in a fog, blindly and mutely waiting for answers that never came. I have spent 4 years and counting thus far searching for them. A forensic pathologist told me that the autopsy was so poorly done and the medical records are pock-marked with holes and missing pieces that he's stunned that anyone could have made a diagnosis of anything at all using them.
The key with SBS is that proof really isn't necessary to convict someone. The conviction is made solely based upon the accusation. It takes on a life of its own. The media ate it up like custard and spewed out its own version of who my husband was, whether it was true or not didn't seem to matter very much. I was told not to talk to them, don't "tip our hand" and then...I never ended up with a voice at all. None of family and friends had the opportunity to tell OUR SIDE of this "story."
If I can't win an appeal to get a trial...we might never get to"
At the time Elwood gave his guilty plea he was vulnerable, exhausted and terrified. This man was forced by the police and lawyers to give a guilty plea under duress and out of necessity. It is for these reasons that he should and is entitled to have a fair trial.
Tonya has since gathered several reports from leading professionals all stating that underlying factors were partly to blame for Amanda's death. All of these reports can all be read on the 'Amanda Truth Project' website. (8)
It is clear that Amanda did not die of natural causes; however, there are many complex issues that were not investigated including adverse reactions to vaccines. It is a fact that Elwood Sadowsky did drop baby Amanda and that he was no saint having been in jail for theft and misuse of credit cards but none of these facts make Elwood a murderer. The question still remains did Elwood kill his daughter or was it a combination of many factors that led to her death? I believe that this was a tragic accident and that Elwood dropped baby Amanda through no fault of his own contributing to her death, however, I also believe this little girl was already dying through drug and vaccine poisoning.
Source: Weekly Blitz
August 19, 2012 permalink
Julian Assange spent a decade fighting Health and Community Services, the Australian child protection agency, for custody of his son Daniel. The skills gained in acquiring internal HCS documents during his struggle led to the formation of Wikileaks in 1999. In a decade Wikileaks revealed thousands of secret documents, many of them embarrassing to the United States.
Mr Assange has been in Britain for the last two years while Sweden seeks to have him extradited. He has not even been charged with a crime, Swedish authorities claim he is wanted only for questioning about his relations with two women. Critics suggest the Swedish extradition request is a sham to facilitate extradition to the United States. British law forbids extradition in political cases, but once on Swedish soil Mr Assange could be extradited to the US without the restraint of the British political exemption.
Two months ago, after exhausting his remedies under British law, Julian Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. This week Ecuador's president Rafael Correa granted him asylum. British police have surrounded the embassy at a cost estimated at £50,000 per day ($80,000). The application of resources at this level, well beyond the reach of neighborhood police, shows that the upper levels of government are working on the Assange case.
Today Mr Assange spoke to a crowd from the balcony of the embassy building. He thanked his supporters, and included his family in this quote:
To my family and to my children who have been denied their father. Forgive me. We will be reunited soon.
This entire fiasco would never have happened if Australia had allowed Mr Assange to be a father to his own son.
Julian Assange: Ecuadorian embassy statement in full
Julian Assange gave an defiant statement from a balcony at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Here is his speech in full:
Can you hear me?
I’m here because I cannot be there today. Thank you for coming. Thank you for your resolve and your generosity of spirit.
On Wednesday night, after a threat was sent to this embassy and the police descended on the building, you came out in the middle of the night to watch over it and you brought the world’s eyes with you.
Inside the embassy, after dark, I could hear teams of police swarming up into the building through the internal fire escape. But I knew that there would be witnesses. And that is because of you
If the UK did not throw away the Vienna convention the other night that is because the world was watching. And the world was watching because you were watching.
The next time somebody tells you that it is pointless to defend those rights we hold dear, remind them of your vigil in the dark before the Embassy of Ecuador.
And how, in the morning, the sun came up on a different world, and a courageous Latin America nation took a stand for justice.
And so, to those brave people. I thank President Correa for the courage has shown in considering and granting me political asylum.
And so I thank the government, and the Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, who have upheld the Ecuadorian constitution and its notion of universal rights in their consideration of my case.
And to the Ecuadorian people for supporting and defending this constitution.
And I have a debt of gratitude to the staff of this embassy, whose families live in London and who have shown me the hospitality and kindness despite the threats that they received.
This Friday there will be an emergency meeting of foreign of the foreign ministers of Latin America in Washington DC to address this situation.
And so I am grateful to the people and governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Venezuala, Columbia, and to all o the other Latin American countries who have come to defend the right to asylum.
To the people of the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia who have supported me in strength, even when their governments have not. And to those wiser heads in government who are still fighting for justice. Your day will come.
To the staff, supporters and source of Wikileaks, whose courage and commitment and loyalty has seen no equal.
To my family and to my children who have been denied their father. Forgive me. We will be reunited soon.
As Wikileaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of our societies. We must use this movement to articulate the choice that is before the government of the United States of America.
Will it return and reaffirm the values it was founded on.
Or will it lurch off the precipice, dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world, in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark.
I say that it must turn back.
I ask President Obama to do the right thing. The United States must renounce its witch hunt against Wikileaks.
The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation. The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff, or our supporters.
The United States must pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful.
There must be no foolish talk about prosecuting any media organisations, be it Wikileaks or the New York Times.
The US administration’s war on whistleblowers must end.
Thomas Drake and William Binney and John Kirakou and the other heroic US whistleblowers must – they must – be pardoned and compensated for the hardships they have endured as servants o the public record.
And the Army Private who remains in a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, who was found by the UN to have endured months of torturous detention in Quantico,Virginia and who has yet – after two years in prison – to see a trial, must be released.
And if Bradley Manning really did as he is accused, he is a hero, an example to us all and one of the world’s foremost political prisoners.
Bradley Manning must be released.
On Wednesday, Bradley Manning spent his 815th day of detention without trial. The legal maximum is 120 days.
On Thursday, my friend, Nabeel Rajab, was sentenced to 3 years for a tweet.
On Friday, a Russian band were sentenced to two years in jail for a political performance.
There is unity in the oppression.
There must be absolute unity and determination in the response.
Source: Telegraph (UK)
Teenager Attacks CAS
August 17, 2012 permalink
A teenager has been arrested after pointing a toy gun at a security guard at the Children's Aid Society in Windsor Ontario.
Fake Gun At CAS
A youth has been arrested after pointing a toy gun at a security guard at the Children’s Aid Society.
Windsor police say the youth approached the security desk just after 3:30 pm Wednesday, pointed the fake gun at the guard and told him to freeze.
Police say the guard was startled, but soon realized the gun was not real.
The youth was charged yesterday with possessing a weapon for the purpose of committing an offence.
Source: Blackburn Radio
Real Charity Busted
August 17, 2012 permalink
Ontario's children's aid societies are incorporated as charities, a fake designation for an institution that is today's biggest danger to children. But what happens to a real charity? Angela Prattis helps children who rely on school meals for their nutrition. During the summer she gives them free lunches. Authorities in Pennsylvania are demanding that she buy a $1000 license or face a fine of $600 per day.
Angela Prattis, Philadelphia Woman Who Gives Free Lunch To Poor Kids, Gets Huge Fine
Every day during the summer, Angela Prattis’ driveway turns into a dining room for 60 children desperate for a meal. But if the Philadelphia woman can’t come up with $1,000 for a permit, these hungry kids may have nowhere to turn.
The 41-year-old mother of three’s food program is funded by the state department of education and is administered by the archdiocese of Philadelphia, which drops off the lunches, NBC 10 reports. While Prattis thought she had followed the proper protocol, the Chester Township recently informed her that because she’s operating out of a residential area, she has to apply for a variance, which costs $1,000 for the zoning hearing. Officials also said they would fine her $600 a day until she stopped distributing free food, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“Nobody's against the program,” Township Manager William Piserik, told the news outlet, “but folks don't want the program set up in the lady's front driveway."
After heeding to media pressure, the township withdrew the fines, but it’s still insisting that Prattis cough up the funds for the variance, a steep expense she can’t afford, and believes shouldn’t apply to her. The do-gooder told delcotimes.com that she believes she should be exempt from such zoning laws because she isn’t cooking or selling food.
“We’re talking about children,” Prattis told NBC 10. “Children. “It’s unbelievable. They’ve never once said anything to me in reference to what to do to be in the right standing with the township.”
Gratis meal programs like Prattis’ are critical during the summer months when 21 million children are at risk for hunger once they lose out on their free breakfast and lunch at school.
However, Prattis refuses to give up on her mission. She plans on attending the next Chester Township Council meeting and she will continue serving the kids that need her services, NBC 10 reports.
“I’m not stopping,” she told delcotimes.com. “These kids are hungry. I’m not tearing down the community. I’m keeping the children out of harm’s way.”
What do you think of this fine Prattis faces? Let us know in the comments below.
If Prattis' program inspires you, support her work through the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which funds her initiative.
Then check out the latest "Kids Count" report, which recently ranked overall child well-being in the slideshow below.
Source: Huffington Post
War on Families
August 16, 2012 permalink
For decades a family destruction industry has been waging war on the family. Battles in the war are in divorce, where wives are offered the family home, car and the children along with a big piece of their husband's income to induce them to throw him out, child protection where social workers take babies from the family while suggesting to one parent that their prospects of getting the child could improve by dumping their partner (a shotgun divorce) and domestic disturbances in which police are encouraged to arrest one family member no matter how frivolous the pretext. Parents are vilified as child abusers, wife batterers, deadbeat dads or stalkers (parent trying to see children). These are new campaigns. People old enough to remember the 1970's can recall a time when these groups were not publicly vilified. Scholars are largely oblivious to the war, suggesting only that marriage is in decline because for some vague or unknown reasons men and women are not getting along as well as they used to.
Over the past decade family destroyers have recruited homosexuals into their fight by promoting same-sex marriage and, in some of the more extreme cases, engendering hatred against heterosexual marriage. This week a gay man apparently consumed by that hatred entered the Washington DC offices of the Family Research Council carrying dozens of rounds of ammunition. His target was active in opposing gay marriage and supporting real families, the ones with with a father, a mother and their children. When he began shooting, a massacre was averted only through the actions of an alert security guard. The war against families, hitherto metaphorical, has graduated to a vigilante shooting war.
Guard Shot at Conservative Group's Offices
WASHINGTON—A man was in custody here Wednesday after allegedly shooting a security guard at the Family Research Council, a conservative group known for its opposition to gay marriage and abortion.
The suspect, identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as 28-year-old Floyd Corkins of Herndon, Va., allegedly approached the building around 10:50 a.m., walking under the entrance's stone façade, which reads, "Faith. Family. Freedom."
Authorities said Mr. Corkins tried to enter the council's offices but was stopped in the lobby by the security guard. The suspect then allegedly fired a gun at the guard, wounding him in the arm. District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the guard and others managed to subdue and disarm the gunman. The guard's injury isn't considered life-threatening.
Late Wednesday, the FBI said the suspect would be charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Investigators were trying to determine whether he is mentally ill, and if the motive for the alleged attack might fall under the legal definitions of domestic terrorism, a hate crime or something else, law-enforcement officials said. Mr. Corkins couldn't be reached for comment.
Officials are probing whether the attack was related to the council's well-publicized conservative stance. During the confrontation, the suspect criticized its work, two officials said.
Mr. Corkins had been a volunteer at the DC Center for the LGBT Community, a group for local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, according to an employee there. David Mariner, its executive director, said in a statement: "I was shocked to hear that someone who has volunteered with the DC Center could be the cause of such a tragic act of violence. No matter the circumstances, we condemn such violence in the strongest terms possible."
The Family Research Council's president, Tony Perkins, recently defended the chief executive of restaurant chain Chick-fil-A, who had criticized gay marriage. "All Chick-fil-A did was refuse to be bullied by the politically correct crowd," said Mr. Perkins in a radio commentary.
One official said the suspect was carrying Chick-fil-A-related items at the time of the shooting. A representative for Chick-fil-A declined to comment.
Elizabeth Ray, a spokeswoman for the National Organization for Marriage, said the group increased security at its Washington, D.C., offices after the shooting, as did similar groups at the state level.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Let Sleeping Social Workers Lie
August 16, 2012 permalink
In Scotland Dean Reekie has lost his job for kissing a sleeping social worker. Fixcas agrees that kissing a social worker should be grounds for dismissal.
Fife care worker struck off for misconduct
A Fife care worker has been struck off for misconduct.
Members of a Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) sub-committee found Dean Reekie (45) guilty of two charges.
They included an accusation that he kissed a female colleague as she slept at a children's residential care home in 2009.
The hearing in Dundee found that he had, while on duty, assaulted a female colleague at the location by touching her upper body and kissing her while she was asleep, causing her to awaken in a state of distress.
The sub-committee also concluded that, at the same location on a date last year and, while on duty, he placed two service users at unnecessary risk of harm by allowing them to leave the premises unaccompanied and contrary to their care plans.
Grant Brown, SSSC solicitor, argued that Mr Reekie's behaviour had been ''fundamentally incompatible'' with the social services register, adding his belief that it would seriously undermine the confidence of the public in the SSSC to keep Mr Reekie on the register.
He said: ''There has not been any insight or remorse whatsoever. He took advantage of a colleague that was sick and who needed assistance.''
However, Mr Brown did go on to say that Mr Reekie had ''many years of experience'' adding that ''he does have good previous history.''
Reporting their findings, the sub-committee concluded: ''In the view of the serious nature of the misconduct ... removal is a fair and proportionate measure.''
Although not present for the verdict, Mr Reekie had represented himself for much of the process, contesting the charges levelled against him.
After learning of the sub-committee's decision he put his case forward to not be removed from the SSSC's register.
He vowed to try to clear his name.
Source: Courier, Tayside and Fife
August 15, 2012 permalink
Chris Carter has obtained a list of pending lawsuits against Ontario's children's aid societies by freedom of information request to the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Here is the letter from Cate Parker (4 megabytes pdf).
Because of the importance of the list, a shorter version allowing for search engine indexing is at Lawsuits against Ontario's Children's Aid Societies.
Kudos to Chris Carter for his perserverence in obtaining this list from the ministry.
Addendum: A few days later the ministry added another suit (pdf), also added to the shorter list linked above. It looks similar to a suit in the earlier list, except that the docket number has another hyphen in 262-665.
August 15, 2012 permalink
The Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society has applied for a license to triple the size of its animated LED pixelboard in front of its Riverside Drive palace.
New LED Animated Sign Planned for Riverside Drive CAS
The Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society is planning a major update to their outdoor sign that will enhance the organization’s goals by displaying colour animation to Riverside Drive commuters.
The CAS, which has been part of the Walkerville area since 2003 recently changed their logo and branding and had been looking to update its sign.
In an application with the City of Windsor to install a new sign, the CAS seeks to replace the existing 9″ x 96″ LED board with a 37″ x 99″ animated LED sign which will show text and images. The new sign will not show video.
The City of Windsor maintains standards for colours and changing animations to ensure traffic safety.
Administrators at the City of Windsor have recommended that the new sign be approved.
August 15, 2012 permalink
Toronto police are looking for twelve-year-old Dystani Heng, stolen from foster care by her mother, Veasna Heng. Please help the police by reporting when you see a mother caring for a pre-teen girl.
Cops seek missing girl
Sharon Aldred wants to finish her baking lessons with her granddaughter.
Aldred, 51, has had custody of her son’s two children — Dystani Heng, 12, and her grandson — since 2006 after Children’s Aid removed them from the care of their mother. Aldred’s son currently lives in Saskatchewan.
When Aldred dropped off her two grandchildren for a weekend visit with their mother July 13, she returned to pick them up two days later to find only her grandson.
Accused of abducting the child, the girl’s mother, Veasna Heng, 31 — and Aldred’s ex-daughter-in-law — was also gone.
They were last seen July 16 near Jane St. and Finch Ave.
Heng turned herself in to police Tuesday after officers released her photo to the public last week. Dystani remains missing.
“We need her home, in a safe place,” said Aldred, who added “it’s been devastating for me.”
Aldred said she had been teaching the child how to bake cookies, muffins and cakes.
“She’d been learning about it at school, and loved watching me cook,” said Aldred. “I just want her back safe.”
Heng has been charged with abduction in contravention of a custody order.
Police are requesting anyone with information regarding Dystani’s whereabouts to call 416-808-3100 or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477.
Source: Toronto Sun
August 15, 2012 permalink
Pennsylvania foster dad John Gould used a one-way mirror to spy on his teenaged foster girls in the shower.
Constable charged with watching foster daughters in shower
NORTHUMBERLAND — A Luzerne County constable used a one-way mirror hidden behind a photograph to watch his two foster daughters, ages 17 and 15, in the shower room of his recreational vehicle in Point Township, according to charges filed in Milton district court.
Point Township police have charged John Gould, 54, of Kingston, a foster parent to a number of children, with six misdemeanor counts of invasion of privacy.
Gould viewed the juveniles at Splash Magic Campground between June 28 and July 1, according to court documents that also stated the 15-year-old became suspicious when she heard a noise in the wall while she shaved her legs in the bathroom, and put her pants back on.
She told the older girl about the noise. The girls began to investigate and found the one-way mirror, court documents said.
The girls reported the incident and discovery to Lackawanna County Children and Youth workers.
Some foster children under the care of Gould in the past had made complaints that were unfounded, according to Kingston police, who also said some foster children are “sharp at working the system.”
However, Point Township police searched the recreational vehicle and found a 10-inch by 12-inch hole containing the one-way mirror that was hidden behind a picture, according to court documents.
The girls showed pictures of the mirror during their interview with Lackawanna County Children and Youth and Kingston police, according to court documents, and said Gould would also “brush up against them” while walking through the recreational vehicle.
The girls told Point Township police officer Nate Fisher they showered once a day during the three-day camping trip, court records said.
Declining to comment on the case were Lackawanna County Children and Youth, the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office and Kingston police.
Protocol should have been in place, Northumberland County Children and Youth officials said.
“There are two things the police department could do,” said Jennifer Willard, Northumberland County Children and Youth Services administrator. “They can call Child Line or call the local children and youth in the area.”
Child Line is a direct call to state wide officials who will mandate a person investigate the claims immediately.
A Northumberland County foster parent for children ages 15-21 is paid roughly $900 per child per month, Willard said.
Gould denied wrongdoing in an interview with police. The girls have been placed with another foster family.
Gould is scheduled for a Sept. 12 preliminary hearing before District Judge Richard Cashman in Milton. Each second-degree misdemeanor carries a maximum $5,000 fine and up to two years in jail.
Source: Daily Item, Sunbury Pennsylvania
August 14, 2012 permalink
The enclosed press release has not been picked up by any of Canada's newspapers or TV stations, so it is not clear how credible it is. It announces an investigation into a Guelph family judge and several family lawyers.
GUELPH JUDGE UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE IN CHILD ABUSE CASE
Ontario Court of Justice Judge Jane E. Casper's, is presently the focus of the judicial misconduct investigation involving all family law cases involving child abuse evidence since 2001.
Guelph Police Services (GPS), Guelph Family and Children's Services (FACS) and Guelph lawyers Andrea Clarke, Olivia Rebeiro and W. Gerald Punnett have also been identified for review in internal investigations pertaining to one or more cases related to Caspers.
Judicial inquiry /public hearing for Guelph, Ontario.
WireService.ca Press Release - Ottawa: Date August 14, 2012 - An historic joint task force investigation of social service agencies, law enforcement and a Family Court Judge in Guelph Ontario, responsible for child abuse/protection, was officially announced today in Ottawa, alleging criminal code violations of obstruction of justice and breach of trust and confidentiality, perpetrated against child abuse clients of the Family and Children Services (Guelph, Ontario) from 2001 to 2012.
"When our Canadian social service agencies, law enforcement and even a family court Judge with malice, fail to fully investigate and protect our children against known child abuse predators and those that protect them, unprecedented investigative actions against those that dare violate the trust, must and will be taken," states Commander Steepe: The Royal Legionaires Corps.
Code named The Protect Us Project, the investigation was sparked by whistleblower evidence provided concerning Eric V. Willis, an employee of RockTenn Company Guelph, with criminal convictions for drug trafficking, illegal drug use, multiple domestic violence, child abuse, inappropriate sexual activity with minors present at Guelph's Recovery Program meetings and at Rickson Ridge Day Care, and an active child abuse/child protection file, with Family and Children's Services in Guelph concerning his son.
Canadian whistleblower legislation Bill C-25 enabled sworn evidence, uncovered extensive obstruction of justice violations by Guelph's collective system of social services, police and a Family Court Judge.
The Protect Us Project to date involves the investigation of 395 child abuse and child protection category cases in Guelph Wellington since 2001.
Ontario Court of Justice Judge Jane E. Casper's, is presently the focus of the judicial misconduct investigation of The Protect Us Project's (TPUP), now involving a TPUP Joint Task Force recommended judicial inquiry and public hearing by the Ontario Judicial Council, of all family law cases involving child abuse evidence, presided over by Judge Jane E. Casper's since 2001.
Supervisor of Domestic Violence Constable Don Conibear and Det/Sgt Hoyer of Guelph Police Services (GPS), Kelly Peters, Lorrie Curtis and Erin Harvey of The Family and Children's Services (FACS) and Guelph lawyers Andrea Clarke, Olivia Rebeiro and W. Gerald Punnett have been identified for Ontario Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRD) and Law Society of Upper Canada internal investigations in support of The Protect Us Project.
Invited participants to The Protect Us Project to date include: The Ontario Independent Police Review Board (OIPRD), Child and Family Services Review Board (CFSRD), Law Society of Upper Canada, Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, The Office of the Children's Lawyer, Ontario Judicial Council, Canadian Children's Rights Council, Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies, Guelph Wellington Women In Crisis, The Canadian Society for the Investigation of Child Abuse and The Royal Legionaires Corps, the lead civil investigation organization of The Protect Us Project, collectively representing Canada's first civil society initiated child abuse/protection investigation unit.
"It is with great shame and equal resolve that our Corps members, on behalf of the mothers of our fallen warriors, who's sons and daughters sacrificed their lives in so many battles to protect children from abuse, that today on Canadian soil, our members battle similar deadly arrogant forces dressed in police uniforms, social worker attire and judge's robes. It's wrong, it's a crime and it must and will be exposed," states Commander Steepe.
The Royal Legionaires Corps is a Canadian founded civil society, non-profit entity, dedicated to engaging modern era veterans in providing pro-bono court process serving and child abuse intervention security duties for Legal Aid recipients in Canada.
To Report "The Protect Us Project Whistleblower Evidence"
Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies
75 Front Street, East, Suite 308
Toronto, ON, M5E 1V9, Canada
The Royal Legionaires Corps
Forest Green Square
12-16715, Yonge Street Suite #304
Newmarket ON, L3X 1X4
Source: Wire Service Canada
Addendum: Lack of corroboration means this story belongs under wishful thinking or even hoax.
Child-Welfare Industrial Complex
August 13, 2012 permalink
Photo source: Facebook, Jamie Sullivan
Canadian children succumb to 'child-welfare-industrial complex'
More and more parents are finding their actions being scrutinized by social workers. And when children are removed from families their safety is not guaranteed.
Alberta has a dark history of legalized sterilization programs and other eugenicist policies. Indeed eugenics laws, which allowed the state to decide who could and could not have children, were only repealed in their entirety in 1972. But now, bereaved parents and child-protection activists claim, there is a similar form of state-sanctioned brutality being visited upon the most vulnerable members of Canadian society via the increasingly privatized and deregulated so called “Child-Welfare System”.
Activists allege that the profit-driven imperatives of the influential pharmaceutical industry contribute to deaths of children under the state's auspices.
Statistics suggest that there may be a correlation between the privatized model of so called child-welfare in Canada and increased rates of child-apprehension. A comparative study conducted at a British university indicated that Alberta’s children were being disproportionately apprehended by the state in comparison with other Western jurisdictions
The study demonstrated that while, for example, Japan only apprehended - 17 children out of every 10,000 that the government of the Canadian province of - Ontario apprehended 64 per 10,000 children whilst - Alberta distinguished itself by taking 111 children per 10,000
The Alberta government maintains that more children would suffer if they reduced the amounts of children they extricate from families. Yet analyst have argued that the government's time and money would be better invested by subsidizing food and housing costs and otherwise addressing the socio-economic problems which degenerate families.
Source: Press TV
August 13, 2012 permalink
Florida law requires that foster children visit a dentist twice a year. But as a newspaper reports, that law is not followed in practice. In dental care, and many other areas, merely mandating a benefit by law does not cause it to happen. Another example: moving a child into a home legally dubbed place of safety. Calling it a place of safety doesn't make it one.
Officials: foster care system frequently neglects dental needs
Nearly 40 percent of Palm Beach County’s foster kids have gone six months or more without dental checkups, although Florida law mandates that children in state custody get seen by a dentist twice a year, state officials say.
Child welfare officials said inadequate oversight by case managers responsible for taking foster children to the dentist, as well as a shortage of dentists willing to treat Medicaid patients, contributed to the backlog in Palm Beach County and across the state.
“A large part is simply that (the children) have not been seen, that there hasn’t been an appointment made or a regular follow-up,” said Elisa Cramer, spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families. “And for children in care, a lot of them have not been seen ever.”
Cramer said the agencies that manage foster care cases for DCF — Child and Family Connections and the Children’s Home Society — are supposed to keep track of every child’s medical and dental visits.
But oversight of these appointments hasn’t been consistent among case management agencies, said Stephen Brady, executive director of the Children’s Home Society. “It’s been one of those things between medical (appointments) and immunizations that we probably haven’t looked at as closely as we should have,” Brady said.
DCF has been monitoring dental records of the state’s foster children since November, after Sec. David Wilkins launched a statewide scorecard to evaluate how community agencies are keeping up with their case management responsibilities. This is one of several initiatives created by Wilkins after the death of Miami-Dade foster child Nubia Barahona.
“Because we are tracking it, I would say they are doing a better job of it,” said DCF spokeswoman Erin Gillespie.
While investigating Nubia’s death and the burning of her brother Victor Barahona, officials found that Victor and two of his adoptive siblings had “deplorable” dental conditions. “All the children, including Victor, have gigantic craters in their teeth,” health department physician Walter Lambert told a Miami-Dade family court judge at the time.
Gillespie said that access to dental care for foster children is an issue in other regions, as well.
To deal with the shortfall in Palm Beach County, DCF is reaching out to local dentists willing to volunteer and treat hundreds of children who would otherwise go without a routine cleaning. Cramer said DCF is working with several community agencies to set up free dental clinics for foster children.
The first of these clinics will be held Aug. 18 at FoundCare Health Center, 2330 S. Congress Ave., in Palm Springs. Dentists are still needed to provide services at this event.
The other clinics will take place Sept. 15 and Oct. 20.
Brady said that with the free clinics and more oversight of the case management process, he hopes every foster child in Palm Beach County will eventually get routine dental exams. “We’ve got a few irons in the fire and I figure if everybody can do a little bit, then it all adds up to getting the job done,” Brady said.
Free dental clinics for foster children
When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Aug. 18, Sept. 15 and Oct. 20.
Where: FoundCare Health Center, 2330 S. Congress Ave., Palm Springs.
How: To volunteer or for information about the clinics, call Stephen Brady, executive director of the Children’s Home Society, at (561) 868-4330.
Source: Palm Beach Post
Lonely Social Worker Seeks Companion!
August 12, 2012 permalink
A lonely cuddly social worker in Fort Erie Ontario is seeking a companion. She makes her screen name out of 1944 (year of birth) and cas, so she could be a CAS worker. Expand to see her posing next to a pig.
1944cas : Honest and Fun!
- Non-Smoker with A Few Extra Pounds body type
- 68 year old Woman, 5' 5" (165 cm), Christian - other
- 1944cas is looking for a relationship.
- Fort Erie Ontario
- Caucasian Aries with Red hair
- Bachelors degree
- I am Seeking a
- Needs Test
- Not Completed
- Do you drink?
- Marital Status
- Social Work
- Do you have a car?
- View her chemistry results
- Do you want children?
- Does not want children
- Do you do drugs?
- Eye Color
- Do you have children?
- All my kids are over 18
- Longest Relationship
- Over 10 years
Laughter, smiles, humour(have to have it) and sweet disposition ( most of the time). I enjoy cuddling, watching movies and sunsets. I respect people who can be themsevles and ask that they don't change who they are, in return I am already semi-unchangeable. I enjoy social gatherings being that I am a butterfly. Good food, conversation and company.
About the one I'm looking for...
Looking for a person who has some of the same traits. Humour and laughter must be important to them as well. Need someone who can debate with me and stay friends. they must like going to shows (not just movies) and enjoying life.
I'd just like to add...
That my family is important to me and we have the best times together. Enjoy simple things as well like sitting and having a cup of tea with someone. Sometimes just enjoying the silence of a quiet night sitting in the swing.
To send a message to 1944cas you MUST meet the following criteria:
- Older than 62
- Live in Canada
- You must have a picture to contact this user.
Source: Plenty of Fish
$13 Million for Foster Abuse
August 10, 2012 permalink
The province of British Columbia is funding a $13 million settlement in the case of a girl who suffered severe brain injuries while in foster care as a baby. The article is unclear on where the money will go. It certainly cannot go directly to the brain-injured girl, named only as EB. $2.4 million went to the lawyers, the rest is probably in some kind of trust fund.
A judgment of $2.4 million against a for-profit corporation would quickly get them to change their ways, to avoid crushing damages from the same cause in the future. Not so with child protectors. The administrators don't lose a penny, the taxpayers get the entire bill. And some functionaries within the system, such as the $2.4 million law firm, profit nicely. They may even be hoping for more cases just like EB.
Saanich girl wins $13-million settlement in foster home abuse case
A Central Saanich girl who suffered severe brain injuries when she was a baby, allegedly at the hands of the boyfriend of her foster mom, has been awarded $13 million in an out-of-court settlement.
Details of the settlement for the girl, only identified as E.B., were revealed in a court ruling released Tuesday that found that the girl’s law firm should receive $2.4 million in legal fees.
The $13 million deal was reached in December, shortly before a three-month trial was scheduled to begin in B.C. Supreme Court.
The B.C. government, which was one of the named defendants, funded almost all of the settlement, with the foster mom’s insurer contributing $1 million and the boyfriend, who had no assets, nothing.
“The child will require, as the amount of the settlement attests, lifelong care,” said B.C. Supreme Court Justice Malcolm Macaulay in his reasons for judgment released Tuesday.
“In fact, the settlement was successfully negotiated on the basis that the child is entitled to one-to-one care at an annual cost of $250,000.”
The settlement was reached following the aquittal in January 2011 in the criminal trial of Avtar Rashi Basi, the boyfriend of foster mom Micheline Slader.
Basi was living in the Slader home at the time but had not been approved by the Ministry of Children and Family Development as a foster parent or caregiver.
The girl had been removed from the care of her mother shortly after birth and placed in Slader’s home.
Basi was accused of violently shaking the then 11-week old girl in November 2008 but a provincial court judge found that while he had caused the injuries, he was not criminally responsible. He was acquitted of aggravated assault.
Arising from the settlement, the girl’s lawyers sought court approval of $3 million in legal fees.
The Public Guardian and Trustee, a participant in the hearing, argued for a reduced fee of $2 million.
The judge found that $2.4 million was appropriate, noting that in two of the cases involving shaken babies, both having settlements of under $5.5 million, reasonable legal fees were found to be $1.3 million and $1.4 million.
The highest recorded legal fee in a medical malpractice case was $1.8 million against a settlement of $8.5 million, including costs, the judge noted.
According a letter from the family’s lawyers, quoted by the judge in his ruling on legal fees, the girl is now being provided with 24-hour nurses care in a private home, back with her family and guardian.
“She is extremely happy and described by all caregivers as being a happy child and physicians have described that she has improved since being with family,” says the letter. “She was overweight when she came to the family; she is now getting a proper diet and exercise and is a stable weight. Her seizures are well in control.”
Source: The Province
Knightly Children were Stolen
August 9, 2012 permalink
A committee of the New Hampshire legislature has looked into the case of Candy Knightly, deprived of her daughter Isabella by DCFS. The committee ruled 9-3 that Candy had been treated unfairly. The ruling does not mean that Isabella will go back to her family, only that the legislature will take up the issue of changing the law. The whole story is in the fixcas article on Isabella's cousin Austin Knightly.
Rep. Harry B. Hardwick
PETITION #6 Grievance of Candy Knightly. (Report filed 8/8/12)
Grievance Founded with Recommendations.
Committee Majority Findings:
In a petition involving the Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), the Redress of Grievances Committee, after hearing from the Petitioner and her mother and seeing the documents supporting that testimony, finds numerous inexplicable acts that indicate wrongdoing by individuals in the Division. It finds that the Division, which refused to attend our hearings to respond even to questions of a general nature concerning their policies in similar situations, appear to have been intent on denying several relatives of an admitted former drug addict (who had been in the act of cleaning up) of adopting her child despite our laws providing for placement with relatives Sec RSA 169-C:6 V, 169-C:6-a I(f), 169-C:19, and 169-C:24 In fact, the Committee saw evidence that DCYF actually facilitated the adoption of the child prior to the rights of the mother being terminated in court. Further, DCYF failed to contact the actual father, instead providing the courts with the name of another individual, while twice through the courts denying paternity testing to the individual claiming to be the actual father. The Committee also agrees with the Petitioner that the courts systematically violated Part 1, Article 15 when it denied the admission of all exculpatory evidence showing the mother did not harm her child. While it seems possible that the acts of the agency were well intended in the interests of the child, they also seem to have been notably opposed to the rights of parents and relatives as provided for in our statutes. Because of the sheer number of supported allegations raising significant red flags in this case, the Committee believes this matter should be thoroughly investigated with a view to revisiting the decision to returning the child to the custody of relatives or its actual mother. For this reason, the Committee recommends, as we have in a prior report, that in the next legislative term a standing legislative oversight committee be set up to review situations like these in depth with agencies involved in potential wrongdoing against our citizens. Any such committee must, like that of the U.S. Congress, have full subpoena power. The Committee also recommends a complete review of any policies making individuals working for our agencies immune from prosecution with a view to limiting that immunity when, in the course of their duties, they infringe on the rights of our citizens. Vote 9-3.
Rep. Harry B. Hardwick for the Majority of the Committee
Source: Kevin Avard, New Hampshire State Representative
Incompetent and Intellectually Inadequate Bureaucrats
August 9, 2012 permalink
A British news source takes up the issue of supplying babies for gay and lesbian couples after taking them by force from the real parents. It includes analysis of phony research supporting gay and lesbian parental skills, financial rewards for adoptions, and the helplessness of real parents confronting the social services juggernaut.
COUNCIL FARMS BABIES FOR GAYS
Cornwall council spent a rumoured £2,6000 on a Town Hall jolly aimed at getting more Cornish kids adopted by homosexual, lesbian, and sex-change couples.
The bash at County Hall celebrated gay adoption, inviting same-sex couples to put their names up as prospective parents to children social workers had taken from their real parents.
The event comes at the height of a nationwide furore over civil rights abuses by social workers, implicated in Britains forced adoption child abuse scandal.
The ongoing story centres around innocent children being forcibly abducted in secret from their parents by social workers for public money
‘New Labour’ Prime Minister Tony Blair brought in adoption ‘targets’ for social workers and rewarded the local authorities who took most children from their natural families with £100s of £1,000s in Whitehall funding.
The scheme was scrapped amidst public outrage in 2008, as, despite the total censorship of the reviled family court division, desperate parents went public with their stories of child-snatching.
But the ethos remains in local councils and in the secretive world of social services, and more and more scandalous abuses are coming to light.
The bash at Town Hall this year took place as if the forced adoption scandal ‘had never happened’, insiders say.
It placed Cornwall council alongside just 18 of the UK’s many public authorities prepared to give over public time and money to the official pro-adoption cause.
Council officers boasted that the unusual event was part of Britain’s “first ever LGBT adoption and fostering week”.
The public authority announced: “The event will encourage people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities to consider becoming adopters and foster carers.”
The bizarre pronouncement, after conceding that following the national forced adoption scandal figures were “at a ten year low”, cited an academic study which came out in support of gay adoption.
It claimed: “At a time when adoption figures are at a 10 year low, a new study carried out by LGBT adoption support charity New Family Social in partnership with Cambridge University shows lesbian and gay people often have the right mix of skills and experience to raise children who have been in care, and give them a great new start in life.”
The citation is in fact completely partisan.
The survey in question was by an organisation which although nominally a charity, is actually a single-interest pressure group for gay adoption.
And the ’survey’ in question surveyed the opinions not of the public – but of the social workers who have children adopted.
There is tremendous evidence piling up on uncensored public news and social media platforms that social workers comprise some of officialdoms most incompetent and intellectually inadequate bureaucrats.
Nonetheless the council boasted that: “72% of the 130 social workers surveyed by the charity saw the “amount of energy and enthusiasm” LGBT adopters bring to the process as a significant strength. 76% saw “openness to difference, and supporting a child with a sense of difference” as equally important.”
And they careered on: “The aim of LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week is to provide information for prospective LGBT adopters and foster carers. Cornwall Council’s event is one of 18 being hosted by local adoption and fostering agencies across the UK”
The man responsible for lifting children and babies from their homes and giving them to strangers to raise for money is then quoted.
Nigel Jackson is the Council’s Family Services Placement Manager.
He says: “LGBT people have a key role to play in meeting the urgent need for more new homes for children in care.
“We are keen to encourage more applications from the lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender communities and hope that as many people as possible will come along to our event on 23 February.”
His collaborator Veronica Yates, the Council’s Adoption Services Manager, then pitches in: “Cornwall has now had a number of years successfully assessing, approving and placing children with LGBT adoptive parents”
“We warmly welcome applications from LGBT couples or single people.
“We offer comprehensive training and ongoing support to all our adopters plus support groups directly targeted at LGBT adoptive families.”
The bash at County Hall invited gay adoptive parents to give ‘lectures’ about their parenting.
The parents then explained to visitors how to apply to buy a child through fostering, or legally remove one from another family by adoption.
The director of ‘New Family Social’, the ‘charity’ whose sole cause is to promote gay adoption is Andy Leary May.
He revealed: “More and more LGBT people are choosing adoption and fostering as a way to form a family.
“We want prospective parents to see just how rewarding it can be and how much advice and support is on offer from our huge community of families around the UK”.
The council then claimed that “In Cornwall, there is a long tradition of lesbian and gay couples fostering or adopting.”
They hauled in a lesbian couple from Redruth, referred to cryptically only as ‘Mari and Debbie’, whose adopted son, they explained: “tells his friends he has 2 mums.”
No mention is made anywhere in the release of who the children placed with adoptive couples real parents are, and whether they gave their consent for their children to be taken away, or to be raised by gay or lesbian couples.
The council’s celebration of extremist social engineering seems to have escaped the attention of the corporate-run local papers and Whitehall-policed BBC.
But posters on anti-social service forums got wind of the event and expressed outrage.
One young mum, who asked not to be named for fear of further reprisals, messaged CCN saying: “Three years ago social workers terrorised me and stitched me up when I was at my most vulnerable.
“I turned to them for help and pretty soon I was being blackmailed, bullied, and they were writing and filing reports full of things they had basically made up about me.
“In the end I turned up at my parents house one day to find the ‘SS’ had been in with the police and dragged my children away.
“Today I have no idea where they are, and no right to do anything about it.”
She went on: “As far as I’m concerned social workers are scum. Adoption and Fostering is a big money racket. They’re like baby farmers.
“You can’t know what they’re like until it’s happened to you: people like to kids themselves there are all these children out there from terrible abusive homes, born to junkies and young children.
“It’s nonsense. There’s a massive ‘multi-agency’ machine which kicks in the minute anyone phones social services and it’s all geared towards taking kids away.
“It’s terrifying, and no-one believes us because it’s all kept secret.”
For an independent insight into the business of adoption log on to this uncensored Facebook page.
You may also wish to read the uncensored national newspaper UK Column on the issue, or attend some of the public meetings being held with a view to ending Britain’s ‘child stealing by the state’ scandal, to form your own independent opinion.
We sent the council requests for confirmation of the £2,600 figure an insider gave us and a series of supplementary questions about the ethics of the event this morning (Thurs).
We’re hoping for a full reply later.
Source: Cornwall Community NEWS
Neil and Tabatha Haskett
August 9, 2012 permalink
Sudbury Northern Life profiles Neil and Tabatha Haskett, focusing on their efforts to get accountability for children's aid societies and hospitals.
Local couple pushes for ombudsman oversight
2,539 complaints not investigated last year
A Sudbury couple are on a mission to bring independent oversight to Ontario municipalities, universities, school boards and hospitals, known collectively as the MUSH sector.
The same kind of oversight is also needed for children's aid societies, long-term care facilities and the police, say Neil and Tabatha Haskett, who lead the Sudbury chapter of the Ontario Coalition for Accountability.
The group, which often holds rallies in the Greater Sudbury area, is pushing for Ontario ombudsman André Marin to have the right to investigate complaints in these areas.
“I know some amazing foster parents, I know some good doctors, and all my experiences in the hospital have been outstanding,” Neil said.
“We know these front-line people do provide some great services, but every once in a while, somebody does make a mistake. Management, more often than not, doesn't seem willing to allow that to be dealt with properly, if at all.”
That's where Marin should come in, he said.
In his yearly report, published in June, the ombudsman himself dedicates several pages to stressing the importance of being able to investigate the publicly-funded organizations listed above.
Marin said he turned down a record 2,539 complaints in these sectors in 2011-2012, up from 1,963 in the previous year.
“Unfortunately, there are many organizations that provide direct and vital public services to Ontarians, without the important check and balance of ombudsman oversight,” Marin wrote in his report.
“I have followed my ombudsman predecessors in repeatedly calling for modernization of my mandate to include the MUSH sector. The reason is simple. MUSH organizations have a profound and immediate impact on the lives and welfare of individual citizens.
“They impact Ontarians where they work, live and play, and when they are at their most vulnerable.”
The only area of the MUSH sector the ombudsman is allowed to investigate is closed-door municipal council meetings.
He's also allowed to oversee the special investigations unit (SIU), an organization which investigates events involving police and civilians that have resulted in serious injury, death or allegations of sexual assault. Ontario has the least independent oversight of any province when it comes to these areas, Marin said.
While he isn't allowed to investigate complaints about any of these organizations, ombudsmen in other provinces are allowed to investigate at least some of them.
The Hasketts said most of their advocacy has ended up focusing on long-term care facilities and hospitals.
“With children's aid, people are on the verge of losing their children,” Neil said.
“If people are losing their children for something they didn't do, what else can these people do? Most of them can't afford the legal fees that are associated with a child protection case. Some of them can cost upwards of $200,000 to $300,000.”
When it comes to hospitals and long-term care facilities, basically the only thing people can do is complain to the organizations' board of directors, Neil said.
“They're battling a corporate machine that's well-oiled, and has dealt with people like them in the past.”
The recent death of a four-month-old prematurely born baby boy, who was under the care of foster parents selected by the local children's aid society, prompted the Ontario Coalition for Accountability to hold a rally in downtown Sudbury.
While the death is under investigation by the coroner, police and the children's aid society, the ombudsman should also be allowed to investigate such cases, Tabatha said.
“He'll be able to find those cracks and follow the paper trails,” she said.
In terms of ongoing problems at Health Sciences North related to the ALC situation, Neil said Marin could act as an advocate for patients, and provide recommendations for how things could be done better.
Neil said he was also interested to hear that Hamilton Health Sciences CEO Murray Martin will conduct a peer review of Health Sciences North.
The peer review will focus on ways of dealing with the hospital's deficit and its ALC challenges, among other areas.
“Why are we putting these things in place when we have an investigator that everybody trusts, that does a fantastic job?” Neil said. “He sees through the BS. He sees the substantiated complaints.”
While Marin is unable to investigate complaints in these sectors right now, Tabatha encourages the public to contact him anyway, as a record is kept of all complaints.
Source: Sudbury Northern Life
Strip for CPS
August 8, 2012 permalink
California child protectors are encouraging Nadya Suleman, better known as octomom, to pursue an X-rated career, initially as an entertainer. In case that does not raise enough money, plan B is to hold an auction for a date with Nadia. Starting bid will be $500.
Octomom says California child services encouraged her to work in adult entertainment industry
Cash-strapped Nadya Suleman, better known as Octomom, has turned to various X-rated money-making ventures to help pay the bills – all with the encouragement of Orange County (Calif.) Child Protective Services.
“They’re on my side–they’re supporters,” Suleman told FoxNews.com in an interview. “It’s ironic. Once I talked with a CPS worker in regards to the adult stuff, she was like, ‘Are you really doing that?’ Well, it’s not illegal. More power to you!’ So it was almost like a green light–like, ‘Do what you need to do to take care of your family.’ They were supportive. It was funny.”
The single mother of fourteen children has starred in an erotic video, posed topless and made personal appearances at various strip clubs.
A rep for the Orange County (Calif.) Social Services Agency, which includes Children and Family Services/Child Protective Services acknowledges that parents have “a wide latitude” when it comes to suitable employment options.
“The Social Services Agency makes every effort to help children be safe in their own homes with their own families whenever possible,” Terry Lynn Fisher, Public Information Officer for OCSSA, told FoxNews.com. “The law allows a wide latitude in parenting styles and in parenting vocations. I don’t think that anybody would ever want it any other way. So as long as children remain free from harm or danger, where there’s no imminent risk of harm or danger to the child, then the Social Services Agency would not become involved.”
Fisher noted that she could not comment on specific cases or even confirm or deny that Suleman has ever been contacted by the Social Services Agency.
Michael Weston, a spokesperson for California Department of Social Services, added, “Regardless of their employment, parents have a responsibility to provide care and supervision of their children in safe environment free from abuse and neglect.”
Weston also noted that he could not comment on specific cases.
After filing for bankruptcy in April, her house in La Habra, Calif. was set to go on the auction block. So in addition to adult entertainment, Suleman has turned to the most logical place to solicit funds from random strangers: the Internet.
Suleman has set up a page on GoFundMe.com, a “do-it-yourself online fundraising service,” where she is trying to raise a down-payment for a new home. Since launching the site on July 28, Suleman has raised only $2754 -- far short of her $150,000 goal.
But despite the trickle of donations, Suleman is not deterred.
“If someone donated $1 or $5, I’m grateful. Anything is helpful,” Suleman told FoxNews.com. “Because even if I’m doing OK, with 14 kids you can never have enough help. They deserve the best, so any donation is really appreciated. I’m very, very, very grateful to the positive supporters out there because, unbeknownst to me, there are many. There are more supporters than negative people out there.”
But Suleman may need to step up her fundraising game.
“When it comes to successful campaigns, usually they get off to a very strong start, and continue to gain a following. That path is not something that we’re seeing with Nadya’s page,” Brad Damphousse, co founder and CEO of GoFundMe.com, told FoxNews.com exclusively. “I imagine that her story probably does not resonate on the same degree as some of our more popular campaigns. For example, America’s tallest man being able to afford a pair of shoes, or the tragic shooting at a theater in Colorado. There’s really a story there; so people are likely to support those causes, share the link, and really create a successful a campaign. From what we can tell, that has not been the case with Nadya’s campaign.”
So, what could possibly drive someone to click on the “donate” button and give their hard-earned money to Suleman?
“I think that she’s doing the best that she can,” a grandmother from Torrance, Calif., who donated $40 to Suleman explained to FoxNews.com. “She has a heavy load on her shoulders. She loves her children -- she didn’t give them up for adoption. I think she’s a loving mother who is getting a bad rap. Everybody is making fun of her, and they don’t really need to. It wasn’t her fault that she ended up with that many children. She’s doing everything she can to support them and I think she has a good heart.
Superstition can also fuel donations.
“The one thing I do believe in is infinity -- the number eight,” Jesusita Chavez of Norwalk, Calif., who donated $8 to Suleman, explained to FOXNews.com. “She is working hard at finding a home for her kids. I like that about her -- she’s not giving up.”
But in case there are a dearth of kind-hearted grandmothers and fans of the number eight, Suleman has a plan B: Having “generous” men bid on the privilege of taking her out on a “date.”
“I have yet to go on this date, but I know it’s going to happen,” Suleman said of her profile on WhatsYourPrice.com, where bidding on a “date” with her reportedly opened at $500. “There’s been a lot of interest, but I don’t talk about it and I don’t talk about the prices. But it’s really a great opportunity to meet and greet and talk to people. In regards to ‘real’ dating, you never know! That was never my intention, but life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Finding Mr. Right is not a priority, but I’m definitely trying to generate revenue for my family. If I leave them for five minutes, I better be making money for them, because the only time I’m away from them is when I’m making money. That’s basically what it’s come down to.”
Source: Fox News
August 7, 2012 permalink
Vancouver Art Gallery
August 7, 2012 permalink
On August 6 foes of child protection gathered outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. Photos:   . There is also a video (mp4) with Velvet Martin, Derek Hoare and his son, Jamie Sullivan, Marilyn Koren, Viorica Lungu and Alfredine Linda Plourde. We regret the poor audio quality.
August 6, 2012 permalink
A KFC advertisement shows a father stealing from his son. In political correctness, the main function of a father is to beat up his wife and children. To those functions KFC has just added thief. The video is on YouTube or local copy (mp4).
August 5, 2012 permalink
CAS transports children in a vehicle that is not road-worthy and lacks child safety equipment.
Kevin Harris Well here's something interesting in regards to volunteer drivers and FACS , I get my two boys for overnight visits from Friday at 6 pm to Saturday at 6 pm, It all was good but the driver was 10 to 15 minutes late. I have to have them ready to go on time and prompt my boys that they are leaving at 6PM, but it's ok if the driver is late, NOT! So I had this new driver this week with an old beat up Sunfire that couldn't pass a safety check if the cars life depended on it. In other words a piece of CRAP or should I say, piece of SCRAP, noisy exhaust system as I could hear it coming down the road a mile away, in other words, not road worthy at all, and I have scrapped better. Only the best for the kids to be transported in, NOT! But FACS says they have high standards for children in care, again NOT! But here's the kicker: my oldest is 6 and youngest is 4, and driver had car seat for 4-year-old but no booster for my 6-year-old. I said to him: Where's the booster seat? He replied: I don't need one as I have this do-hicky that secures the belt. Such BS. I was made to supply car seat and booster for my children or look out I will feel their wrath. Under the highway traffic act it states children under the age of 8 require a booster seat, Period! Its a hefty fine and the loss of two demerit points on your licence. So I went to police and told them what transpired and they wouldn't [do] anything about it, and instructed me to call FACS and complain. WOW, cops are in their back pockets as well. So it comes down to my own thinking. Don't do as they do, just do as they SAY. They're all NAZI's and I am totally disgusted with the system in place. But I have filed formal complaint with after hours worker and will follow up with my own worker on Tuesday.
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
August 5, 2012 permalink
Serena Hofing, age 16, has escaped from residential care in Montreal. She visited her mother on July 21 and failed to return to her residence. The police are trying to get her back, but she might have a better life on her own.
1 août 2012
Avec l'accord de la famille et à la demande des policiers-enquêteurs, nous sollicitons votre collaboration en vous demandant de publier la photo ainsi que la description de cette personne.
Profil de la personne disparue
1,75 m (5’9’’)
64 kg (140 lbs)
Origine ethnique :
Le jeune femme portait, au moment de sa disparition, un pantalon court gris, un t-shirt blanc et des espadrilles blancs de marque Adidas.
Vu pour la dernière fois :
Le 21 juillet vers midi
Enquêteur au dossier :
Téléphone enquêteur :
No. de dossier :
Note individuelle :
La jeune femme réside dans un centre d’accueil, mais avait obtenu la permission de passer la fin de semaine du 21 juillet au domicile de sa mère. Elle a ensuite refusé de regagner le centre d’accueil lorsque la travailleuse sociale et sa mère le lui ont demandé. Serena Hofing a quitté la résidence de Dorval à pied puis est montée dans l’autobus 211.
Elle a ensuite visité la résidence de son père à Lasalle le vendredi 27 juillet, mais a quitté les lieux à l’arrivée de celui-ci.
La jeune femme a plusieurs tatouages. Elle a le mot Believe tatoué sur l’avant-bras, ainsi que de l’écriture sur la poitrine et l’abdomen. Serena Hofing a aussi le nombril, les oreilles et la langue percés.
Ce n’est pas la première fois que la jeune femme fugue de la maison.
Quiconque ayant des renseignements sur cette personne peut contacter les enquêteurs au dossier où toute information sera traitée avec discrétion.
Relations médias Module des relations médias Divisions des communications - SPVM Tél. : (514) 280-2015 firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Montreal police
Addendum: She was found safe within a day of the posting. But on February 28 she ran away again. Here is another unnecessary wanted announcement.
February 28, 2013
With the permission of the family and at the request of police investigators, we ask you to support our efforts by publishing this photo and description of the missing person.
Missing person profile
23 février 2013
Investigator in charge:
Investigator phone number:
Elle pourrait être aperçue dans le secteur de LaSalle, particulièrement près de la rue Hachez.
Elle aurait des amis dans les secteurs de LaSalle, Verdun et Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of this person is urged to contact the case investigators. All information will be treated confidentially.
Module des relations médias
Divisions des communications - SPVM
Phone: (514) 280-2015
Source: Service de police de la Ville de Montréal
Nameless Girl Dies of Abuse
August 5, 2012 permalink
A four-year-old girl has died from abuse in a Regina home. The adults in the home, Kevin Eric Goforth and Tammy Lynn Goforth, were not her natural parents. Police and the press are silent about what the real relationship was, but it was likely a foster home. The outraged people in the court scene sound like the real parents. Social services had a two-day warning of the impending death, giving them time to muzzle the press and even the police. Until a real name is released, future fixcas reports will refer to the dead girl as Regina Andrews. Enclosed are two news articles and a police report.
2 Regina caregivers charged with abuse appear in court
It was a dramatic morning in a Regina courthouse Thursday, where two caregivers charged with child abuse made their first appearance.
Tammy Lynn Goforth, 35, and Kevin Goforth,37, have been jointly charged with two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm after two young children were taken to hospital Wednesday suffering from signs of abuse and negligence.
During Tammy Goforth's appearance, two women sitting at the back of the courtroom were visibly upset and walked out, while another man sat at the back sobbing.
When Kevin Goforth was taken away from the prisoner's box, the same man jumped up and began screaming, "What happened."
It took three bailiffs to physically restrain him and remove him from the courtroom.
At that point the judge ordered everyone out of the room for a break.
The couple will be held in custody — they are scheduled to appear for a bail hearing on Aug. 9.
Two sisters in hospital
Officers were sent to a Regina hospital early Wednesday morning to investigate a report of a four-year-old that was in an unresponsive state.
Hospital staff managed to revive the child, but she remains in critical condition.
Police said a preliminary investigation shows the girl was a victim of abuse and neglect.
While at the hospital, officers took the couple into custody.
Police said another child, the two-year-old sister of the victim, was found at a home in the 3500 block of 6th Avenue North.
The two-year-old was also taken to hospital to be treated for abuse and neglect, police said.
Officers had blocked off a home, Wednesday, on Andrews Crescent, which is believed to be where the two children were abused.
The two children remain in hospital.
4 Year Old Alleged Abuse Victim Dies
The four year old Regina girl who was hospitalized just after midnight on Wednesday, and is the alleged victim of abuse and neglect, has died.
Regina Police say her name will not be released at this time.
Her two year old sister remains in hospital, and the investigation continues into this case.
The children's caregivers, appear again in court on August 9th.
Any changes in the charges against 37 year old Kevin Eric Goforth and 35 year old Tammy Lynn Goforth of Regina will be read in Provincial Court at that time.
Source: Regina Police Service
Neighbourhood shocked at news of 4-year-old's death
REGINA — The residents of Andrews Crescent in the Uplands neighbourhood are in shock following the death of the four-year-old girl who had been living in the area.
The young girl and her two-year-old sister were living with Kevin Eric Goforth, 37, and Tammy Lynn Goforth, 35, until Aug. 1 when the Regina Police Service responded to a call after the eldest sister was brought to a Regina hospital in an unresponsive state. An investigation into her two-year-old sister followed. The Goforths were arrested, and the two-year-old joined her sister at the hospital, in stable condition.
Though the four-year-old was revived when was taken to hospital, she died Friday morning.
One neighbour burst into tears after learning of the little girl’s death, upset that she had lived next to the house where the neglect allegedly took place.
According to several neighbours, many on the block were unaware that two girls even lived at the property.
The Goforths appeared in court Thursday, where each was charged with two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. The couple is alleged to have failed to provide nourishment and medical attention to the children.
Police have not provided details of the relationship between the Goforths and the girls in their care, other than to say they weren’t the biological parents. When contacted, the Ministry of Social Services wouldn’t speak to the specific case and wouldn’t say whether the girls were in foster care at the time or if the Goforths are now or ever were foster parents.
The Goforths make their next court appearance Aug. 9, at which time the Crown may change the charges to reflect the four-year-old’s death.
Source: Regina Leader Post
Addendum: The deceased girl is June Alexis Dawn Goforth.
Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day
August 2, 2012 permalink
Dan Cathy, owner of the Chick-fil-A fast food chain, recently supported traditional (opposite-sex) marriage. Boston Mayor Thomas M Menino expressed his wish that Chick-Fil-A would not open a restaurant in his city. Political figures in Philadelphia, Chicago and New York chimed in with similar sentiments. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee fought back, declaring yesterday to be Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. The restaurants were overwhelmed with supportive customers.
Chick-fil-A Has 'Record-Setting' Sales on Appreciation Day
Chick-fil-A posted "record-setting" sales on Wednesday as thousands of people swarmed the chicken chain for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day after the chain's chief made anti-gay comments.
"While we don't release exact sales numbers, we can confirm reports that it was a record-setting day," Steve Robinson, Chick-fil-A's executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement.
At least one location had to close early after nearly selling out of chicken. At others, lines snaked around buildings and patrons waited upwards of two hours to snag their chicken sandwiches and show their support for Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy's comments supporting traditional marriage.
"We are very grateful and humbled by the incredible turnout of loyal Chick-fil-A customers on August 1 at Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country," Robinson said. "We congratulate local Chick-fil-A Owner/Operators and their team members for striving to serve each and every customer with genuine hospitality."
At the Chick-fil-A in Augusta, Georgia, about 150 miles from the franchise's Atlanta headquarters, the lunch line wait was hours long. And after a day of lines that snaked around the building, the restaurant had to turn away part of the dinner crowd, closing two hours early due to low supplies.
Lillian Huber, the Augusta Chick-fil-A's marketing director, told ABC News that employees began directing customers to another location around 8 p.m. so the store would have enough food left to open the next morning.
With no Chick-fil-A locations in Maine, Auburn, Maine resident Arthur Langley organized a caravan to cart supporters to the nearest location two hours away. Langley said he and 14 friends and supporters drove the two hours and "happily" waited a "very very long time" to "demonstrate their support for what they believe was very important values in our society."
Langley said the Chick-fil-A in a food court in Peabody, Massachusetts was "swamped with people" and felt like a family reunion.
"It was people you really don't know but you know they're family so you treat them politely and nicely," he said.
Mike Huckabee, who created the Appreciation Day movement on Facebook, said on his radio show yesterday that he was "giddy" about outcome.
"People are voting with their feet today," Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, said. "I guess you could also say they are voting with their faces, they are stuffing them with chicken sandwiches, those lovely Chicken sandwiches from Chick-fil-A."
In Fayettville, Ga., CEO Cathy greeted customers waiting in line at the drive-thru and thanked them for their support. One Chick-fil-A goer tweeted this photo of Cathy:
The CEO has not spoken publically or agreed to any more interviews following the backlash over comments he made to the Baptist Press supporting "the biblical definition of the family unit."
"We are very much supportive of the family," Cathy said. "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives."
After an outpouring of support for Cathy and his company during Wednesday's Appreciation Day, gay activists are taking to the streets, or rather the Chick-fil-A parking lots, around the country for National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A on Friday to protest the chicken chain's opposition to the LGBTQ community.
Same-sex couples are being urged to take photos and videos of themselves kissing outside of Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide.
About 11,000 have said on Facebook that they will attend the event. The Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day event had about 55 times that many Facebook attendees.
Although the restaurant chain has become a rallying cry for people on both sides of the marriage debate, Chick-fil-A has aimed to stay out of the politics and controversy stemming from its CEO's comments.
"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect –regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender," Robinson said in a statement. "We understand from news reports that Friday may present yet another opportunity for us to serve with genuine hospitality, superior service and great food."
Source: ABC News
Opponents struck back by vandalizing Chick-fil-A. photo. A national kiss-off protest against Chick-fil-A fell flat.
Chicken lips are scarce
Great gay kiss-off lays a gigantic egg
This was billed as the greatest protest since Occupy Wall Street. Thousands of scantily clad gay men and lesbians said they’d lock lips in a coast-to-coast red-hot make-out session.
They were to blast anti-gay-marriage comments made by Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy. But gays preferred staying home to watch “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”
Tumbleweeds could have rolled through the Paramus Park Mall in New Jersey yesterday as a symbol for the lack of stamina in the national kissing campaign.
From Georgia to California, protests drew yawns, not saliva.
Even in Atlanta, the home of Chick-fil-A, only two dozen kissers showed up. And there was a similar lack of necking in Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.
At NYU, 20 people weren’t allowed in the dorm that hosts the city’s only Chick-fil-A. Just three pairs of guys kissed on the street.
In Jersey, I only found eight kissers — and two weren’t even bi!
Giggling like overaged cheerleaders, Jessi Friechter, 42, and Claudia Campagna, 51, stared into each other’s eyes. And in full view of the Chik-fil-A neon sign, the coworkers pecked each other on the cheek — handing me an iPhone to record the event.
“My husband would love this,” teased Friechter.
Nearby, an older gent who refused to give his name was freaking out.
“That’s disgusting! That’s not why I came here,” he said.
“Why don’t they go to Sbarro and do that? Why don’t they go to Subway?”
So much for the kiss-fest. It couldn’t even draw New York’s Lesbian-in-Chief Christine Quinn, who wants to boot Chick-fil-A from the city.
This aged mall of dwindling splendor, where brow threading competes with bedazzlers, was supposed to be swarmed by thousands of folks protesting Cathy’s comments: “We are very much supportive of the family — the Biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives.”
But there wasn’t enough gay outrage to draw more than one person who was actually gay.
She was Laura Fram, 34, a gay Republican vegetarian, who said Chick-fil-A was “hateful and hurtful.”
But her main problem was that she had no one to kiss.
“If you find someone for me to kiss, I’d be willing — but only a woman,” Fram said before running to pick up her daughter.
One disappointed by the smooch fiasco was Curtis Sliwa. The radio talker and Guardian Angel has been urging people to come out and eat.
“I was here to realize every male fantasy — watching lesbians kiss,” he said. “Now I get to buy a spicy chicken sandwich and waffle fries.
You’re not the only one.
Source: New York Post
Addendum: Chick-fil-A ends its funding of traditional marriage (but Dan Cathy has denied making policy changes to get a restaurant in Chicago).
Chick-fil-A no longer will fund traditional-marriage groups
Chick-fil-A stopped funding traditional-marriage groups in an effort to open a new Chicago restaurant, but the company initially kept quiet about the decision, prompting gay rights groups to speculate that the company feared a backlash from conservative customers.
The Christian-rooted fast food restaurant agreed to stop funding groups such as Focus on the Family that oppose same-sex marriage in a meeting with the Chicago politician who had been blocking the company’s move there. Chick-fil-A wrote a letter to Alderman Joe Moreno affirming this, according to his spokesman, Matt Bailey, but the company initially wouldn’t allow his office to release the letter to the public. Three weeks later they relented.
“There was concern from them,” said Anthony Martinez, executive director for the Civil Rights Agenda, the Illinois lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender group that negotiated with both Chick-fil-A and the alderman to stop funding for so-called anti-gay groups. “They really didn’t want to announce it, really, but, of course, the alderman needed to clarify why he was changing his stance on them opening a restaurant within his ward.”
Chick-fil-A did not returns requests for comment, and has previously said it will not discuss the issue with the media.
Mr. Martinez said Chick-fil-A told the alderman they will no longer fund groups that support traditional marriage through their charity arm, the WinShape Foundation, and will instead use that money toward educational programs and food donations.
“The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas,” Chick-fil-A wrote in the letter.
Chick-fil-A also sent an internal memo called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are” stating the company will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender.”
Mr. Moreno called it a win for gay rights.
“Prior to today, Chick-fil-A had a poor record when it came to acknowledging equal rights for all of our citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation,” he said. “But today, we have a new path: For the first time, Chick-fil-A has changed their practices and promised the workplace protections that all of our citizens deserve. Instead of being a company that openly promotes discrimination, Chick-fil-A has vowed to move forward.”
This could also help in other areas, such as Boston and San Francisco, where politicians vowed to oppose new Chick-fil-A restaurants.
The Civil Rights Agenda was also happy with the move, but said more needs to be done.
“We’re very pleased with this move,” Mr. Martinez said. “We think it is a big step forward.”
The group would also like to see Chick-fil-A include an anti-discrimination policy in the company’s employee handbook. He said companies in many states are still allowed to discriminate against gay and transgender people, so a company policy would help prevent that.
“In the state of Illinois, it is part of the law,” Mr. Martinez said. “But in many parts of the South, sexual orientation is not protected. There are over 20 states still that you can be fired for being gay, and there are over 30 states that you can be fired for being transgender. A lot of people don’t know that.”
The restaurant’s decision comes less than two months after Chick-fil-A sparked a nationwide controversy when President Dan Cathy told a Christian news outlet that he supported traditional marriage. Gay advocacy groups took that to mean that he was anti-gay. They also pointed to the company’s funding for groups that oppose same-sex marriage. Many called for a Chick-fil-A boycott, while others joined in a gay “kiss-in” at the restaurants. Some politicians, including Mr. Moreno, said the restaurant was not welcome in their communities.
But religious supporters fought back, turning out for “Chick-fil-Appreciation Day,” which happened to be the most successful day of business in company history.
Source: Washington Times
Powerful As God
August 2, 2012 permalink
There will be another screening of Powerful as God on Sunday, September 23 at 2:30 pm at the Rainbow Cinema, Market Square, 80 Front Street East at Jarvis in Toronto. Tickets can be acquired online through Commffest starting August 15.
August 2, 2012 permalink
In Wisconsin Martin and Kathleen O'Brien adopted six children, half of then Russians. The adoptees were subject to severe maltreatment while the O'Briens' natural children were well cared for. On her eighteenth birthday one adopted girl was handed $200 and told to go away. At least Russia continues to look out for its children even after they are adopted in another country.
Abuse charges against Walworth County couple bring international attention
Town of Bloomfield - Last summer, while taking a walk, Lynne Marquette came upon a girl in front of a neighbor's home attempting to shove a dull push mower through a swath of thick, long grass.
Marquette was bewildered. She had lived in the vicinity for 39 years and she knew the couple that lived in the home - Martin and Kathleen O'Brien - owned a riding mower. Why, she wondered, would this child be out on such a blistering day attempting to accomplish what appeared to be an impossible task?
"She doesn't look at me. She doesn't smile. She doesn't wave," Marquette said this week.
"It just wasn't natural," she said. "I thought, 'Something isn't right.' "
A few weeks later, in early August 2011, child protective services took custody of five of the O'Briens' six adopted children - three of them siblings from Russia.
Another adopted child, a sister of the three Russian siblings, had been handed $200 and told to leave the house when she turned 18, according to investigative reports.
The O'Briens were charged in May with 11 felony counts of child abuse and 12 misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct involving their adopted children.
The allegations come at a delicate time.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin's office announced that he has ratified a long-awaited agreement with the United States that tightens the rules for U.S. citizens adopting Russian children.
"Not every international adoption ends happily," the office of Pavel Astakhov, Russia's children's rights commissioner, said in a statement. "According to official data only, 19 Russian children died at the hands of U.S. citizens over the last 10 years."
The O'Briens, who declined to comment for this story, have four biological children. According to a criminal complaint filed in May, they adopted six children beginning in 2004. The physical abuse charges involve three of the children: a Russian-born boy who is now 18, a Russian-born boy who is now 13 and an American-born boy who is now 14.
While these three children were, according to the complaint, beaten, stabbed, kicked in the groin, slapped and doused with pepper spray, it was the treatment that the adopted children experienced as a group that seem most cruel.
Court records paint a household divided into the biological family and the adopted children.
While executing a search warrant last summer, for example, investigators examined the bedroom used by two of the O'Briens' biological sons still living at home.
The room was messy, the closet overflowing and the floor cluttered with clothes. The room contained two flat screen televisions and several game systems.
The adopted boys were housed in another bedroom and the adopted girls in another. The rooms did not contain televisions or game systems. The closets and dressers contained few clothes.
Forced to stand naked
The 18-year-old told police that the O'Briens would make the six adopted kids stand naked on an enclosed back porch as the biological family ate dinner, the complaint says.
The O'Briens' oldest biological daughter told authorities that the adopted children were stripped and forced to stand naked in front of her and her siblings. The children said the parents made fun of them and told them they should go back to Russia.
The 18-year-old told authorities that the adopted kids often were hungry and punished differently than the biological children.
For example, he said, one of the adopted children was caught stealing food. Kathleen O'Brien threw several loaves of frozen bread on the floor and ordered all six adopted children to eat the bread before they could go to bed, the complaint says.
The 18-year-old told authorities that the children sometimes were punished by being forced to stand barefoot in the snow, by being locked together in a room for days at a time, by being forced to kneel on sharp rocks or by being told to stand in the sun in the dog pen among the dog feces.
The 18-year-old told authorities that the adopted children were not allowed to read books or go to school, that during the summer, while the O'Briens' biological children came and went as they pleased, the adopted children were not allowed into the house during the day, according to an investigative report.
One of the children said that when they were outside, they had to work. They were not allowed to use the family pool.
One of the children told authorities that Kathleen O'Brien would slap them across their faces as many times as their age. The children got to pick out which hand they were slapped with, the report says.
A child told authorities that if one adopted child broke a rule, all six were punished. In the winter, they would be given parts of the family's large driveway to shovel. If one child tried to help another child shovel an assigned spot, both would be forced to remove their shoes and socks and stand in the snow.
It is clear from the investigative reports that the O'Briens have had several contacts with Walworth County child protective services since 2008.
State law requires child welfare agencies to file a public notice when a child dies, suffers a serious injury or endures an egregious incident. The law also requires that the agency file a report within 90 days detailing what services the family was being provided, what contacts the agency had with the family, what reports the agency received regarding the family and when action was taken in response to those reports.
The Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services did not file an egregious incident report in the O'Brien case until the Journal Sentinel contacted the state Department of Children and Families, which ordered the county to do so.
While it has been almost a year since the children were removed from the O'Brien home, the county has yet to file the follow-up report required by law.
An official at the Department of Children and Families said state law precludes the agency from commenting on the case.
A Russian television network has been covering the early stages of the O'Brien case.
Boris Koltov, a Russian television reporter, told a local reporter that Russians cannot understand "why American families with children of their own adopt Russian children and then mistreat them."
Russia is a major source of adopted children in the U.S. It was the third-largest source of foreign adoption by Americans in 2011, trailing China and Ethiopia.
But Russian adoptions have slowed since April 2010, when an American adoptive mother sent her 7-year-old son to Russia with a one-way ticket and a letter that said he was violent, disruptive and she didn't want to be his mother anymore.
Some Russian officials called for a halt to all American adoptions. The adoption of Russian children by Americans became a political flash point.
While Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton signed an adoption agreement between the two nations last year, Putin's approval was pointedly slow in coming.
As for Marquette, who showed up at Walworth County Circuit Court on Tuesday for a minor hearing in the O'Brien case, the international ramifications are distant rumblings.
"These children lived nearby," she said.
"They were neighbors."
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
At the Mercy of the State
August 1, 2012 permalink
Michigan father Robert Coleman lost his children for a year over nothing. Sadly, this is an entirely typical case. The unusual part is how public this family is. They went public during the year of separation, and the father has written a book about his ordeal At the Mercy of the State.
Author fought back and got his kids back
HURON — Robert Coleman wonders what other parents would do if they were faced with a similar situation.
But he has some advice — fight back and never give up.
He admits to a marital indiscretion right off the bat when he’s telling the story. It’s something he regrets. It’s also something that led to the nightmare. He blames the state of Michigan’s child protective services agency for allowing it to go as far as it did.
And he has written a book, “At the Mercy of the State,” in which he chronicles with mostly trial transcripts, exactly what happened four years ago.
In 2008, the Huron family was living in Michigan. He and his wife, Janet, were landlords of an apartment building. Tenants included a couple — she a spurned lover of his, both of them he describes as mentally challenged — who falsely accused him of abusing his children, ages two and six.
“I had my two children abducted into the foster care system,” Coleman said. “These people are allowed to take away your children without any evidence.”
He admits to spanking them. But he was accused of taking a belt to them and beating them.
Not true, Coleman said.
In the preface to his book, he notes that some people argue against spanking entirely. Others believe – and he is one of them – “that a spanking for disciplinary purposes, done modestly, without intent to harm the child, is indeed a good thing because it teaches right from wrong.”
The family was spending a weekend in a hotel when their world came crashing down.
Crashing down in the form of a bang at their door.
Coleman said inviting the police and social worker into the room without a warrant was his worst mistake.
“Where they got their evidence was after they walked in the door,” he said.
“At three o’clock in the morning on a Sunday we had a bang at the door, bam, bam, bam,” he said.
His wife got up while he could hear the door pushing the chain. “They were yelling maintenance,” he said.
“When she opened that door, just cops flooded in,” Coleman said. “They held me at my bed to where I couldn’t get up, grabbed my kids, out the door they went and that was it, have a nice day.”
It would take them a year to get their children returned to them.
They were in court every month. He said he was portrayed as the worst person in the world. “The testimony had nothing to do with anything,” he said.
“What we did was they had no case so eventually they had to give them back,” he said.
The problem comes down to money, he said. When kids are placed in foster care the state is paid by the federal government, he said.
After a year, the options were for the government to terminate their parental rights or give the children back. Coleman was not going quietly.
“I fought tooth and nail; I was way too public with my issue,” he said. “So they couldn’t dare take my kids away from me.”
He said the state of Michigan maintained it did nothing wrong. But Coleman also has evidence that while his children were in foster care they were abused.
“I was accused of spanking my kid … and yet this lady drug my kid across the floor and I have evidence of it, and locked her in the basement on numerous occasions,” he said.
Coleman had a doctor examine them when he got them back for overnight visits so he would not be accused of additional abuse.
“The doctor said, ‘sure enough, those kids are scarred. They have been molested in foster care’,” he said.
Coleman has looked into South Dakota’s practices and doubts anything like what they experienced would happen here. He has talked with parents whose children were taken on false allegations, but they were returned after eight days.
The Colemans are together again, but he is pushing forward with a class action lawsuit against the state of Michigan. He believes his case among all of them is the most documented.
He has also contacted members of Congress. Last month, Rep. Kristi Noem’s office was notified of a recent complaint regarding child protective services.
Rep. Hansen Clarke of Michigan has asked Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the treatment of African American children and families by the Michigan Department of Human Services’ Child Protective Services Department.
“My office has received complaints from individuals and community groups alleging the CPS is removing African American children from their parents in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner,” he wrote in a May letter.
“I take very seriously allegations of children being forcibly and unjustifiably removed from the custody of his or her parents,” he wrote.
“They’re trafficking kids is what they’re doing,” Coleman alleges. “It’s horrible.”
While Michigan claims it does whatever it takes to protect children, he said people are scared.
“Because they have the power to just walk right in,” he said. “They could come in right now and take your kids and get away with it and there’s nothing you can do about it.
“Once they have your kids in custody, you can’t cross-examine them, you can’t do anything, it’s one-sided,” Coleman said.
He said state officials will tell the child he or she can go home if they will say their dad spanked them with a belt.
“You’re telling this to a six-year-old who believes in Santa and the Easter Bunny,” he said. “What do you think they’re going to say?”
Source: Plainsman (Huron South Dakota)
No More Foster Care for Zach
August 1, 2012 permalink
Missing Sudbury teenager Zack Bigras has posted to Facebook. He expressed his determination to never return to foster care. While this sounds like a happy ending, experience says he will soon be forcibly returned to his foster tormentors.
Missing teen posts message on Facebook
Still listed as missing, but police are investigating
Missing Sudbury teen Zack Bigras posted a message to Facebook on July 29.
The 14-year-old was reported to have gone missing from his Wahnipitae home on July 24 sometime after 2 p.m. Police believed he was staying somewhere in Sudbury.
On Sunday, he wrote, “kk for every one thats worried im safe and this is my choice and im at a friends so come down im never going back to froster care ok thanks u for being worried but im safe love u guys bye [sic].”
Dozens of messages from friends expressing relief followed his posting. Dozens more preceded it, with entreaties from loved ones to communicate that he was safe.
Const. Meghan O’Malley with the Greater Sudbury Police Service said that the criminal investigations division is aware of the Facebook post, but Bigras will continue to be listed as missing until he either goes home or contacts the police or a guardian.
Like the many people who posted to the teen’s Facebook page, police are encouraging him to make contact.
“At least we know he’s safe, but at this point, he’s still missing,” O’Mally said. “He needs to go back to his residence.”
Source: Sudbury Northern Life
Addendum: According to a posting on Canada Court Watch, Zack is living with his aunt.
Trevor Doering I just got a message from Zacks oldest brother that Zack has been found and now is living with his Aunt.
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
Don't Take Candy from Strangers
August 1, 2012 permalink
Providers of social services in British Columbia use one of the oldest techinques to lure children. They hand out snacks.
I-RAYL reaches out on SkyTrain to at-risk youth
Most SkyTrain commuters give a wide berth to gaggles of loud-talking, gum-smacking, cigarette-sharing young people. Chris Preston and Despina Stratidakis make a bee-line right for them.
They're one of two teams of youth outreach workers (three in the summer) with the Inter-Regional At-Risk Youth Link (I-RAYL) that ride the elevated rail lines from Surrey to Vancouver to Richmond five days a week, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., talking to kids under 19 years old, directing them to community resources, handing out meal coupons, transit tickets and snacks.
The snacks are the key, says Preston, opening a dark blue/grey backpack filled with candy bars, juice boxes and bags of bright orange cheese puffs.
"They're a huge icebreaker," says Preston, who's been with I-RAYL for two years. "When we first approach kids, they have no idea who we are."
But the universal language of free snacks creates a connection that can lead a troubled youth to the help they need to steer clear of a life of crime or other high-risk behaviour, give them the support and stability they might need.
"You always try an approach to make conversation, build a relationship," says Preston. The teams meet 700-800 youth each month.
The four-year old program, which is unique in Canada, is funded by $360,000 from the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and administered by Pacific Community Resources. The outreach workers tap into resources available to youth in the various communities along the SkyTrain lines, from shelters to social services to food banks to counseling to recreation and youth centers, as well as local and transit police.
"Youth are so transient," says Preston. "They're traveling between communities and SkyTrain offers them a conduit. We're meeting them where they're at."
Most of their work is proactive, trying to reach kids before they get into trouble with the law, but through constant alerts on their Blackberry's, they're also an extra set of eyes that can keep a look out for missing kids or youth gone AWOL from group homes.
On a recent pitstop at Metrotown Station, one of three transit hubs along the SkyTrain system that attract lots of young people (Surrey Central and Broadway-Commercial are the others), Preston and Stratidakis walk up to a small group of clean-cut kids in shorts and crisp T-shirts hanging out on the concrete concourse outside the doors to Metropolis at Metrotown. After a brief introduction and explanation of who they are and what they're doing, their offer of free snacks is greeted with smiles and polite thanks. One kid accepts a business card.
"The worst that can happen is they're just not interested," says Stratidakis.
But they might have a friend who is in trouble and that initial contact can pay off down the road, explains Preston. Sometimes that process can take months.
"You find out what you can do and you have the resources available to create a recipe for success," says Preston. The team also maintains a Facebook page to stay in touch even when they're not on the trains. "It's all about building relationships."
The program has also reaped benefits for the transit system by helping reduce property and violent crime; in 2011 property crime dropped 15 per cent and violent crime dropped 14 per cent per 100,000 transit passenger boardings.
The next stop for Preston and Stratidakas is the sprawling Broadway-Commercial station in Vancouver, where the Expo and Millennium lines intersect. An elderly panhandler hunches forward from his wheelchair at the station's Broadway entrance.
"He's not really our demographic," says Preston.
A tour around the station and a block up and down Commercial, and a peek through the windows of a coffee shop turns up no groups of loitering kids, no familiar faces.
"A lot of it is reading body language," says Preston. "We're able to read situations."
Not that coming up empty is a bad thing, says Stratidakis.
"Sometimes when there's no youth around it's a good thing. They might be in school, or more settled and stabilized in their life."
Source: Burnaby News Leader
August 1, 2012 permalink
Policeman Rob Hall tells how to interview children. He is writing under the assumption that the interviewer wants to get the truth from the child, an assumption that is rarely the case in child protection matters. More often the interviewer wants to get some assertion that can be used to justify separating parent and child. In one Dufferin case an interviewer got a three-year-old girl to say that her mom hit her with a frying pan. Later the mother found that the girl did not know what a frying pan was. In those cases when social workers really need to get the truth, they demonstrate their incompetence. For example, in 2005 a toddler was found by herself on a street in Queens New York. The only hope of unraveling the mystery of who she was and how she got there was to iterview the girl herself. Social workers did so for days and days without finding anything. The mystery was solved only when they called in a professional journalist, Melissa Russo, who got the girl's story.
Chief's Office with Rob Hall
First, do no harm: Effectively interviewing children
With few exceptions, cops get a lot of practice talking to adults. We interview witnesses, we interrogate suspects. Those who’ve been around the block more than a few times figure out what approach and techniques work best for them on the street or in the interview room, and they adjust accordingly. A few have “the gift,” and are renowned for their ability to gently put a hammer and nails in the hands of a scumbag, and then guide him in the construction of his own coffin. Sometimes we even give them nicknames: “the Priest” (everyone confesses to him), “Butter” (as in “butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth”) and the like.
But take the most seasoned interviewer with a tremendous felony closure rate, stick them in a room with a five-year-old victim of ongoing sexual assault, and the interview can go to hell in a handbasket in a New York minute if the interviewer hasn’t had specialized training in interviewing children.
It’s just not the same.
One of the realities of our profession is interacting with children. Whether they are victims, witnesses, or bystanders, their credible participation can often be illusive, confusing, misunderstood or, at the very worst, ignored. I recently participated in a training program designed to increase basic investigative skills and procedures when investigating reports of child sexual and physical abuse. It has led me to see how the techniques taught there can be effectively applied to any circumstances when we deal with children.
ChildFirst training is a teaching curriculum where students are taught the forensic interviewing protocol RATAC (Rapport, Anatomy Identification, Touch Inquiry, Abuse Scenario, and Closure).
The intensive five-day course is provided by the National Child Protection Training Center and CornerHouse, a nonprofit interagency child abuse evaluation and training center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The training is designed for law enforcement officers, child protective service workers, prosecutors, and forensic interviewers. Forensic interviewing has been found to be very defendable in court proceedings around the nation. It is a neutral, fact-finding approach that enables the child to provide the needed details of abuse, thus assisting investigators in their search for further evidence.
Specifically, CornerHouse RATAC Protocol, which “instructs the interviewer to ask non-leading questions, to use terms children would understand, and to progress quickly since young children have short attention spans,” has been recognized and approved by a number of appellate courts.
The temptation would be to say that this type of training is only valuable to those directly involved in child protective services or those routinely investigating reports of child sexual and/or physical abuse. But the skills and techniques taught in this course can be applied to any case where a child is a witness, or to any situation where law enforcement would talk or engage with a child.
Basics include making a child feel comfortable and safe before any question is asked (gaining their trust); letting them know the interview is being recorded; asking age-appropriate questions; and avoiding misleading or suggestive questions that may ultimately contaminate and render useless the information needed.
Interviewing children became a national focus in 1984, with the “McMartin Preschool Case” in Manhattan Beach, California. In that case, several day care employees were accused of sexual abuse and bizarre rituals of animal sacrifice, resulting in over 80 charges.
It turned into a cluster of epic proportions, and the ramifications changed the way children are interviewed throughout the nation. Of 80 counts against those employees, there were zero convictions. Examining the videotaped interviews of the children from this case (including interviews by psychiatrists and counselors) revealed troubling aspects of the investigation.
Children were interviewed repeatedly, and often rewarded for giving what was considered “the right answer.” They were repeatedly asked the same question, thereby implying (in the child’s mind at least) that the answer the child had previously given was not the answer the adult questioner wanted to hear. Some children were asked if they had said a particular thing in the past, and further questioned whether or not it was true.
While such questioning tactics might be effective with an adult suspect, it is counter-productive with children, as it can lead them to begin to guess and try to conform to what they think the interviewer wants to hear. Often the children changed what they said. Sometimes the questioners provided details with which the child victims were asked to agree, or corroborate.
In the McMartin case, jurors specifically said the reasons they dismissed much of the children’s testimony was because it was “adult influenced,” or did not remain consistent. As we know, witness statements can be suppressed if they are not obtained in an appropriate manner, or are the result of inappropriate questions.
If children are not influenced by threat, reward or adult “leading,” they tend to tell the truth. Research has shown that children do not lie simply as a matter of course, particularly about sexual abuse. But suggestibility and complicated questioning can cause children to say things that may cause adults to deem their answers inaccurate or untruthful.
Upon completion of this training, it was apparent that many a child’s honest testimony could be thrown out or deemed inadmissible by virtue of how that testimony was obtained. What has been determined since McMartin (and cases similar to it) is questions, particularly to young children, should be simple and concrete. Complex or compound questions can confuse a child, with negative results. Such questions often solicit a response from a child that makes them sound as if they don’t know what they are talking about, as the child may respond to only one part or detail of the question, and exclude others.
“What did he look like?” or “What were you and Uncle John wearing?” are too abstract and open-ended for young children. Suggestive questions such as, “Did the man have red hair?” may cause children under the age of 11 to answer in the affirmative because they often want to please the questioner. At certain ages, children can answer “what,” but not “where” or “when.” To children under 10, the time concept of “a week” or “an hour” is likely not developed. The use of the small word “if” can throw a major monkey wrench when questioning a child, as it sets up either scenarios of a far-reaching or fantasy scope, or it presents such a suggestive thought process they could choose to not answer at all. Through proper questioning techniques, information that often sounds “off base” can be made clear.
Smaller jurisdictions may not have immediate access to specialized personnel to investigate matters that concern children; there may only be the responding officer to ask essential questions. Someone - perhaps you – will have to make the decision as to how to obtain and record a child’s accurate and truthful testimony, and take responsibility for doing so effectively in a manner that does no further harm to the child.
To learn more about this subject, and find trainings that are close to you, I highly recommend you check out the websites posted in the related resources area above and to the left.
Let Them Eat Cake
August 1, 2012 permalink
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to promote breastfeeding by keeping infant formula locked up. Mothers will have to make an application to get formula. Mr Bloomberg could have even more success by chasing away the social workers who rip newborns from their mother's breast.
Mayor Bloomberg's infant formula plan aimed at promoting breast-feeding in NYC hospitals
(CBS/AP) First he took on big servings of soda. Next on Mayor Michael Bloomberg's agenda is infant formula.
Going into effect on September 3, New York City's mayor will implement his voluntary Latch On NYC initiative in which infant formula will be kept locked away at hospitals to encourage breast-feeding for new mothers.
Under the new program, reported by the New York Post, mothers who insist on bottle-feeding will still be able to do so, but nurses would have to sign out the baby formula, which would always be on hand for mothers who have difficulty breast-feeding.
The Post reports that 27 of the city's 40 hospitals have also agreed to eliminate gift bag giveaways of infant formula and other free items like lanyards or mugs with formula-company logos.
The mayor has gotten criticized over the new policy, which is set to take effect in September. While some are chiding the mayor for imposing a "nanny state," The National Alliance for Breast-feeding Advocacy says it's a good program.
The Alliance's executive director says keeping baby formula under lock and key, like medicines are kept, helps prevent hospital staffers from reaching for a bottle first, instead of encouraging new mothers to nurse their babies.
The program is voluntary for hospitals, and is part of a nationwide effort to improve newborns' health by promoting breast-feeding for babies.
Some city hospitals are already taking part in the program. At NYU Langone Medical Center, breast-feeding rates have surged from 39 percent of new moms to 68 percent since the program was implemented, the Post reported.
Earlier this month, Massachusetts health officials announced they would eliminate free giveaways of infant formula at the state's 49 hospitals beginning at the end of July to promote breast-feeding.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that moms exclusively breast-feed for the first six months of a newborn's life to boost protection against many illnesses and allergies.
Babies who are fed formula and stop breast-feeding early may be more at risk for diabetes, respiratory and ear infections and are more likely to require doctor visits, prescriptions or hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children who aren't breast-fed are also more likely to be obese and are at a higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
The CDC says in the U.S., most babies start breast-feeding, but within the first week, half have already been given formula, and by 9 months, only 31% of babies are breast-feeding at all.
Rare Judicial Respose to Kidnapping
July 30, 2012 permalink
Ann Pettway seized a three-week-old baby from mother Joy White and raised the girl as her own. It took 24 years before mother and daughter were reunited. The justice system knows how to deal with kidnapping as long as it is not done by social workers. Ann Pettway has been sentenced to twelve years.
Pettway gets 12 years for kidnapping baby
NEW YORK -- Another chapter in the bizarre story of two lives forever shattered was written Monday when a federal judge sentenced Ann Pettway to 12 years in prison for kidnapping a three-week old baby from Harlem Hospital in 1987 and then spending the next 23 years raising her as her own in Bridgeport.
This time U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel authored the chapter.
Ann Pettway, of Raleigh, N.C., was sentenced Monday in Manhattan. He will also have three years of supervised release after completing the 12-year sentence
She pleaded guilty in February to kidnapping, saying she took a train from her Connecticut home to Harlem Hospital in 1987. While there, she said, she scooped up Carlina White, a 3-week-old who was brought to the emergency room with a fever.
As part of Pettway's plea bargain, prosecutors recommended 10 to 12Â½ years in prison. But they raised the suggested sentence to 20 years last week, saying the Probation Department had unearthed new facts about the case that made a stiffer sentence more appropriate. The judge handed down the 12-year sentence Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Prosecutors said it appeared that Pettway, of Raleigh, N.C., kidnapped the ailing infant because she wanted a baby "and constructed a web of lies that denied the child the truth about her family for 23 years."
They said Pettway "brazenly took the daughter from a hospital crib and, when no one stopped her, brought the daughter home with her to Bridgeport, Conn. If the offense had ended there, in 1987, a lengthy sentence of imprisonment would have been warranted for kidnapping alone. But the offense did not end there. Instead it continued for 23 years."
The government also had challenged her lawyers' contention that she provided a "stable, loving and happy home," saying that Pettway was convicted of five crimes while White was in her custody and had told the Probation Department that she used cocaine from 1983 through 2005 and smoked marijuana every day until she was in her early 30s. It also said White's biological mother had informed the Probation Department that her daughter told her that Pettway once hit her with a shoe so hard that it left an imprint on her face.
As Pettway admitted her guilt, Carlina's birth mother, Joy White, quietly cried in the courtroom gallery. Afterward, she told reporters that she was outraged at the plea bargain and felt a decade in prison would be too light a punishment for the woman who had robbed her so cruelly. Justice, she said, would be one year for every year she was separated from Carlina.
"I've lost 23 years of being with my daughter," she said, adding that those decades were filled with pain and heartache.
During the proceeding, Pettway told the court: "I went to the hospital. I took a child. It was wrong." In a letter to the judge before sentencing, Pettway apologized and said the kidnapping would never have occurred if seeking professional help for mental trauma from her failed pregnancies and being able to discuss family secrets had not been forbidden in her family's home.
"Because of my actions so many lives were hurt," she said in the handwritten letter.
She said she still loves the woman she raised, "a wonderful bright young woman."
"All I can do now is ask forgiveness from her and her parents. It may not sound correct on paper but I am hopelessly SORRY," she wrote. "My action led to such a huge loss for her parents, but there is nothing I can do to right this wrong that I committed."
White said she encountered Pettway at the hospital on the day her daughter disappeared, dressed like a nurse. "She came up to me and said to me, `Don't cry. Your daughter is going to be OK.'"
The case was solved by Carlina herself.
As she grew up in Bridgeport under the name Nejdra Nance, the girl became increasingly suspicious of her own identity. Pettway ultimately told her a part-truth. She admitted that she was someone else's daughter but claimed she had been willingly given away by a drug addict.
Carlina White said she browsed the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for clues to her identity. After matching a photo of herself with one on the site, she tracked down her true mother and they reunited in January of 2011. A DNA test confirmed they were mother and child.
Today, they speak every day, Joy White said.
"I love my daughter. She's a beautiful girl," she said, adding that she had kept a picture of her missing baby at her bedside for 23 years.
White, now 25 and reverting back to her Bridgeport name of Nedjra Nance,, was in Georgia working on what is expected to be a book and a made for Lifetime TV movie on her bizarre life. She lives there with her daughter, Samani.
The story came to light in January, 2011 after Nance had her DNA matched with those of Carl Tyson and Jo White, a mother and father who had brought their daughter to Harlem Hospital on Aug. 4, 1987 for treatment of a fever. The next day the daughter was gone. For years, Nance had been suspicious about the story Pettway Pettway being her mother and contacted the National for Missing and Exploited Children. A baby photo of the missing Harlem Hospital child was sent White and looked very much like ones she had seen of her self taken by the Pettway. The DNA test was then taken.
This then led to a celebrated reunion with her birth parents and the arrest of Pettway.
But that reunion was short-lived after White discovered her birth parents had spent the hospital's insurance settlement which had been held in trust for her, in the event she was found.
Meanwhile Pettway and her lawyer told the judge she was suffering from mental illness resulting from depression over several miscarriages when she kidnapped the infant from the hospital.
Source: Greenwich Time
July 29, 2012 permalink
Christopher Booker reports on a girl taken from her mother by social services for no real reason. The girl ran away back to her mother. Complying with the law, the mother returned the girl to her legal custodian the next day and was charged with kidnapping.
A mother is charged with kidnapping after returning a runaway daughter to care
Why are police so eager and aggressive in their co-operation with social workers?
Not least of the many disturbing features of the epidemic of child-snatching by social services, which is now breaking all records, is the extraordinarily compliant co-operation given by the police.
Two weeks ago, an eight-year-old girl was wandering the streets “somewhere In London”, having run away from her care home for the fourth time. Her parents having separated, for seven years she had lived happily with her mother. But when it was suggested that she should see her father again, she was overheard at school saying that he had once punched her in the head. This was reported to the social workers, who put her in a foster home, on the all-too-familiar grounds that she faced “the potential risk of emotional harm” if she stayed with her mother, who had never harmed her in any way.
In the foster home, desperate to be reunited with her mother, she was so rebellious that she was put in a care home, where she was relentlessly bullied and abused by older inmates. A photographic record shows many injuries, including a 10in burn from a kettle.
When she escaped for the fourth time, she was spotted in the street late in the evening by a friend of the family, who called her mother. The mother rushed to her side and rang the police to say she would look after her distraught daughter at a friend’s house overnight and return her next day to the care home. At 4am, neighbours near the mother’s house were woken by the sound of nine policemen smashing down the door of the family home, searching in vain for the girl.
When the mother returned her to the care home later that day, as promised, social workers were alerted. The police arrived to arrest her, held her in custody for 10 hours, then charged her with trying to kidnap her daughter. Released on bail, she faces trial in October.
The girl was then moved to a new foster home in the area where her mother lives. On Thursday, the mother happened to see her daughter in the street, looking unkempt and miserable, accompanied by the new foster carer. While the mother attempted to comfort her desperate daughter, the carer rang social workers on her mobile and told the mother she must leave the scene and not contact her daughter again.
All this took place in the name of the Children Act, which, as judges repeatedly like to intone, makes the interests of the child paramount. As I have observed before, were Dickens living today he might well make the workings of our “child protection” system the theme of one of his most searing novels.
But again, why are the police so unquestioning and so aggressive in the support they give to this system? It is a mystery for which I have so far been given no rational explanation.
Source: Telegraph (UK)
July 29, 2012 permalink
According to Chatham area residents with knowledge of the parties, the person charged (not arrested) in the enclosed article is Grant Gregory. Grant's wife Terry-Lee Gregory works for Chatham CAS.
Source: Facebook, Reform the CAS NOW
Search warrant leads to pot, guns
Chatham-Kent police have seized 293 marijuana plants that at maturity would have a street value of $293,000. Seven firearms and a variety of ammunition were also confiscated following the execution of a joint forces Controlled Drugs and Substance Act search warrant Tuesday afternoon at a residence on Ninth Line in Raleigh Township. A 42-year-old Raleigh Township man was charged with production of cannabis marijuana and released with a future court date.
Source: Chatham Daily News
July 28, 2012 permalink
A rally for accountability took place in Picton Ontario on July 27. In the enclosed comments Curtis Kingston expresses his disappointment with the turnout. Rallies cannot be effective until people turn up at events they have committed to support. Photos:  .
Curtis Kingston This rally was a success as the weather was great and we did have a huge amount of support from the community and we even has two people stop to hold signs with us and somebody paid for our parking. The media was also in attendance and are going to be writing articles on this rally.
Although this rally was a success I am in fact extremely disappointed and unimpressed with the simple fact that if it were not for my father coming with me at the last minute because I asked him to, I would have been the only person there holding signs until the people walking down the street wanted to join me!
I understand that there was good reasons for some people but this is actually the only rally I have held so far that I could have actually been alone and this rally was planned for weeks and the schedule was even set on purpose for certain people to make it that didn't show.
And one of the biggest problems was trying to explain to the media about our lack of people as when they got there it was just me and my father but I think I handled that well enough but we will have to wait and see when the articles are published.
This rally could have been amazing with more people as even though it was just me and my father, I believe that considering the low amount of foot traffic where we where, we received more support for the amount of people than any other place by far.
I hope the Belleville rally next Friday will have a better turnout because I am certain that we will have media there as well and we will need more people than just me and my father.
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
Protect the Guilty
Slander the Innocent
July 28, 2012 permalink
Ron Slatter, a foster parent in Ontario's scandal-plagued Prince Edward County, was accused earlier this year of sexual misconduct against his wards. The charges were withdrawn, but only after his name had been irrevocably smeared. The Wellington Times tells his story in detail.
Many opponents of social services believe that every criminal conviction of a social worker or foster parent is a step forward. But, as in the Slatter case, it could be a product of the child protection back-stabbing culture. Efforts to thwart conscientious insiders can be the real origin of the accusation.
Following the Times article is a remark by Curtis Kingston, an observer knowledgeable about Prince Edward County accused foster parents. He contrasts the public smear of the innocent Ron Slatter with the protection of another foster parent truly guilty of sexual offenses.
Foster family blame CAS for destroying their reputation
Ron Slatter is trying to get his good name back. He figures by now it is likely a lost cause. His name was featured prominently in news coverage when the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society filed a complaint against him earlier this year. That led to charges of sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation. Those charges were later withdrawn—for as the OPP reported, the actions, though inappropriate, didn’t amount to a criminal act.
Slatter denies he ever acted inappropriately with the children placed in his care by the CAS. He says he only learned when charges withdrawn that he had been accused of having told a dirty joke. He says it isn’t true—that it didn’t happen. But the damage is done—for his name and reputation are in tatters.
Yet he feels compelled to tell his story—even though he knows some people have already made up their minds and will always see him differently. He is coming forward, he says, as a warning to others who would consider challenging the way the local children’s aid society is run. Slatter believes the CAS pushed for charges against him as a form of “payback” for years of advocating for better treatment of foster families and children in their care. He says he is not alone—other families who have pushed for changes at the CAS have been forced to retreat or gotten out of foster care altogether.
BECOMING FOSTER PARENTS
With their own children grown and living on their own, Ron and Linda Slatter decided they wanted to provide a home to children whose lives were in disarray. After 20 years of experience in Boy Scouts Ron enjoyed working with children and passing along his life experiences.
Ron has worked in the County’s Public Works Department for 30 years but an injury forced him to retire early. In 2003 they took in their first child—an 11-year-old boy. The youngster seemed to find trouble everywhere he went.
“We spent a lot of time talking around the kitchen table,” recalls Slatter fondly.
Over the years the Slatters opened their home to more than 40 children, some staying as little as a month, others for five years. Ron says they had many successes as well as some disappointments. Some made great strides— others didn’t.
A SUCCESS STORY
One child came to them in 2005 an angry and confused young 14-year-old. After Kassy’s mom couldn’t manage her daughter any longer she was sent to live with her dad. That lasted only a few months. She landed in Ron and Linda’s home. Her grades were poor, her attitude worse.
Kassy was sent to the Slatters on a 30-day interim basis. But 30 days turned into five years. Kassy was eventually made a Crown ward and officially placed with the Slatters. Over the next few years her grades improved as did her outlook to life. She now considers it home.
“Ron and Linda really push school,” explained Kassy in an interview with the Times. “In Grade 11 and 12 I got honours. They don’t take credit for this but they are really proud that I was able to do this.”
Kassy says success in high school led to thoughts of higher education.
“I had no plans to go to college when I moved in there,” said Kassy. “But they pushed the education thing. And I lived there during my first year of college.”
Kassy is now 21 and has graduated with a college diploma in social service work.
She is shocked that the Slatters have been dragged through this scandal.
“Honestly they are the last people on the face of the earth who should be accused of something like that,” said Kassy. “They have a great reputation. I don’t know how an accusation like this could have gone this far. His name is mud now. They’ve done nothing but good—I don’t know how it got this far.”
Kassy, too, believes the Slatters have been targetted because Ron challenged the CAS and how it operated.
“I think they were covering their ass,” said Kassy. “I was interviewed by the CAS. I didn’t know what was going on. Nobody had warned me they were looking at Ron and Linda. I was completely shocked.
“But I could see what was going on—especially the CAS caseworker. Ron had gone against the CAS on a lot of things.”
A CHALLENGE TOO GREAT
Ron says they had less success with another young girl. On the last night of 2008, Ron took a call from the CAS—they were bringing 15-year-old girl to live with them. Theirs was one of only a few homes that would respond to such a call on New Year’s Eve.
Once in their home, the Slatters learned the child had been sexually assaulted prior to her arrival in their home and they were upset they hadn’t been informed about this beforehand— but they were getting used to being kept in the dark about the history of the children being sent to her home. Ron Slatter reported the girl’s sexual assault to the CAS caseworker but got an unsatisfactory response.
“I got upset,” said Slatter. “I said I would take the girl to the police myself.”
The next morning he got a call from the OPP. They concluded she had been sexually assaulted a month before she came to live with the Slatters.
Ron believes some CAS caseworkers lack the experience and training to do their job as effectively as they should. He says too the CAS also focuses too much on balancing their books each year.
“We spent months trying to get help for this girl,” said Slatter. “She began to see a psychologist but after three sessions we were told it was too expensive.
“Her family doctor wanted her to undergo a 72-hour evaluation because of some self destructive behaviours,” said Slatter. “But the CAS said the issues weren’t serious enough and wouldn’t pay for the girl’s examination.”
When the challenges continued, the Slatters asked for the girl to be moved. The girl went to live in a group home in Belleville.
Ron Slatter has since learned that it was this girl who accused him of telling her a “dirty” joke. Slatter denies it ever happened.
THE SMART ONES
He believes CAS administrators grew weary of butting heads with him in his role on the executive of the Foster Families Association.
He says a week before the police called to say they were going to arrest him, he was called into the CAS offices and fired as a foster parent. Slatter says the reason offered by the CAS staffer was that he hadn’t advised them that his daughter and children had been visiting for the weekend.
“This was deemed a change in our home,” said Slatter. “It was clear to me this was payback for what we’d done with the Foster Family Association.”
For years he and the association pushed the CAS to expand the list of reimbursable expenses borne by foster parents.
“We are among the lowest paid foster parents in the province,” says Slatter. “The caseworkers too are among the lowest paid in the province. This is one of the only Children’s Aid Societies that runs a surplus each year. Why is that?”
Ron feels he is paying the price for speaking out. He has been advised it will cost him as much as $1 million to sue the CAS for the damage they have done to his name and reputation.
“Others just got out,” said Slatter. “They quit. They are the smart ones.”
The executive director of the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society did not respond to an invitation to comment on the allegations in this story.
Source: Wellington Times
I really do feel for Ron Slatter as I do 100% believe his story not just from what he has said but from having inside knowledge on the case and I feel that this man deserves justice for what the CAS did to him.
I am also extremely angry at the simple fact that the CAS was perfectly willing to ruin this mans name by not attempting to get any publication ban but the horrible excuse for a man that actually did commit horrendous sex crimes against children and was convicted for them is still under a publication ban and I cannot tell people his name and not only that but the convicted man is even allowed to live here just about 5 minutes from my house at his home in Belleville until his sentencing is over with.
Ronald Slatter is an innocent man that had his name destroyed because he was wanting to speak out against the CA$ while at the same time the CA$ was and still is trying their best to keep the guilty mans name from the public! How is this in the best interest of the children!
Source: Facebook, Curtis Kingston
Addendum: CAS has responded to the story that Slatter was falsely accused. They claim that the county prosecutor, not CAS, is responsible, and that Slatter must be guilty of something becuase he agreed to a peace bond. But dozens of other cases have shown that it is common for CAS and prosecutors to bully a victim into concessions.
CAS says it was compelled to act upon allegations
The Children’s Aid Society of Prince Edward County has responded to story in last week’s Times, in which a former foster parent said the CAS had trumped up charges against him as “payback” for advocating for better treatment for foster families and the children in their care.
Elaine Philip, the incoming chair of the CAS board, said it is the police and the Crown Attorney who make the decision to lay charges—not the CAS.
“The notion that the charges were part of a vendetta is totally without basis in fact and quite absurd,” said Philip.
She said the CAS is compelled to respond to allegations made by youth in its care. “The investigation was initiated by the allegation made by the individual. We have to follow the law too.”
Ron Slatter was charged with sexual assault, sexual interference and sexual exploitation. The allegations were made by a youth that once resided in the Slatter home.
“The OPP conducts their own separate parallel investigation whenever allegations are made,” said Philip. “When it comes to criminal charges, that is the sole domain of the police and the crown attorney.”
But Slatter says in this case the CAS were keenly invested in his arrest and in charges being laid against him. He believes he was targeted by the CAS because he spoke up for foster families and pushed for improved funding for the children under CAS care.
“They were the ones who notified the police. Their child protection officer was at the police station when I was questioned by police,” said Slatter. “She was in the next room I was in, listening and watching through the window from the next room. They are just trying to distance themselves from this,” said Slatter.
Philip further contends that Slatter is not the innocent victim he claims to be.
“He agreed to enter into a peace bond that required that he not be in the presence of children that are not his own grandchildren—that is not something you enter into if your 100 per cent innocent,” Philip told the Times.
Slatter says he only agreed to the condition at the last minute—just as charges were being withdrawn. He says he would have gone to trial had he fully understood what he was agreeing to.
Source: Wellington Times
July 28, 2012 permalink
Gastonia North Carolina continues with its run of social worker DWI cases. This time Derrick Hensley was caught driving drunk. He is continuing to drive a government vehicle, even with children as passengers, while charges are pending.
Social Services worker charged with DWI allowed to drive government car
GASTON COUNTY, N.C. —
Eyewitness News has learned a Gaston County Social Services worker recently charged with DWI is still allowed to drive a government car and have children as passengers.
It's the department's third employee arrested on DWI charges in the last nine months.
On a quiet Gastonia street in early July, Child Protective Services worker Derrick Hensley was arrested for DWI and later released on bond.
"It's dangerous, you know. He could have hurt somebody driving drunk," said Gastonia resident William Martin.
So far, Hensley has not been disciplined. He's still allowed to drive a county car.
Eyewitness News asked Gaston County DSS Director Keith Moon if a DWI arrest should now result in an automatic punishment, and he said no.
"Each individual situation is just that. It's an individual situation," Moon said. "Everything depends on what extenuating circumstances existed."
Social worker Yvette Smithen was arrested in early October and fired within three days.
Gastonia police said she had her 4-year-old son in the back seat and she blew a 0.22 --- nearly three times the legal limit.
Social worker Amanda Carrigan was also arrested in October and fired in early November.
Witnesses said she was weaving in and out of traffic on a busy road and rear-ended an SUV.
"They should know not to drink and drive," Martin said.
Hensley was arrested on July 2 in his personal car. He was off duty and he reported the arrest to his supervisor.
"A DWI would, in and of itself, would probably not be cause for disciplinary action," said Moon said there's no official policy for handling DWI arrests.
Hensley's family told Eyewitness News they didn't want to talk about the arrest.
Eyewitness News doesn't know yet what led police to pull Hensley over because the county courthouse was closed when a news crew arrived.
But a reporter will pull those files Monday morning.
Hensley will appear in court in early September for the DWI charge.
Addendum: Here is an example of how well this child protection agency functions.
My grandson was legally kidnapped on august 9th 2012 by DSS of Gastonia, NC.
An anonymous submission.
My grandson was legally kidnapped on august 9th 2012 by DSS of Gastonia, NC. I've heard so many diffirent lies from these people I really don't know the reason. But, they told me that it was because of his behavior. There not telling anybody that the social worker new back in May that he was diagnosed with ADHD and did not inform me about it. I had to bring it up in july that I was going to have him checked for it and then she told me after I took him to the doctor and told her that he was diagnosed with it and then she said she knew that back in may.
Also, I heard that the thearapist that I was taking him to had only seen him and me four about an hour said that he was disassociating from himself because he likes to pretend he is spiderman. Then he told them that my mental state was affecting him. I was upset because his mother and his other grandparents had abused him on there visits. He is only four years old and I thought at that age all kids liked to pretend to be superheros. But, I reported the abuse and thats when they lied to me and asked me to come up there for a meeting about their visits and when I got there they put him in another room and told me that he was'nt going back home with me that he was going to a level II foster home.
They will not let me see him or even talk to him and wont tell me who or where he is. It feels like he has been kidnapped and I can't find him. It is the worst thing i have ever been through in my life. I don't know what to do. But I am having a rally 8-17-12 at the gastonia dss.
If anybody has any answers please let me know.
Source: Legally Kidnapped
Addendum: Protestors take to the streets against this agency.
Protestors say DSS kidnapped their kids
Mary and John Shinagis got fed up with the system, so Friday they took it to the street.
The Bessemer City couple packed up their camping chairs, loaded up the cooler with sodas, constructed some protest signs and headed to the Gaston County Department of Social Services.
The couple said they couldn’t get anyone to listen when they made phone calls, so waving signs and getting signatures on a petition seemed the next logical step.
The Shinagises say that local social workers wrongfully took away their 4-year-old grandson who they’d been raising for more than a year.
“It’s like he’s been kidnapped, and I can’t find him,” said Mary Shinagis.
According to the Shinagises, they rescued their grandson from an abusive home. While caring for the boy, they enrolled him in a private preschool, took him to therapy each week and took him for visits with his mother, father and other set of grandparents, the Shinagises said.
But while the boy was visiting relatives, the Shinagises said he was physically abused. The couple reported the abuse twice in two weeks, they said Friday from the sidewalk outside of DSS.
Mary Shinagis was told to come to see a social worker on Aug. 9, she said. That’s the last time she saw her grandson.
According to Mary Shinagis, a social worker took her to one room and her grandson to another. She said she was then informed the boy wouldn’t be leaving with her.
The Shinagises are upset. They’re angry. They want answers. They say they’re not getting them.
They don’t trust foster homes, not when they think their grandson could be better cared for with them, or with his aunts and uncles.
“They’ve got to be stopped. They’re taking kids out of good homes and putting them in bad homes,” John Shinagis said of social workers.
The couple held their signs high for a few hours Friday morning, waving at anyone who honked in approval as they passed. They carried with them a petition – to stop corruption at DSS and to bring their grandson home.
Joining the protest
Tonia Allen saw the demonstration Friday and decided to become a part of it.
The Gastonia woman said she had her three daughters taken away by DSS in 2009.
The girls, now 9, 8, and 7 years old, have been adopted. Allen said she was forced to give up her parental rights. She said a social worker threatened to take away her two sons if she didn’t give up the girls.
Allen admits that her life wasn’t perfect when her girls were taken away, but today she has a job, a nice house and a desire to see her daughters.
When Allen saw the Shinagises, she pulled out pictures of her daughter, taped them to a sign and joined the protest.
Some interested pedestrians stopped and talked to the protestors. A few signed the petition.
DSS bound by rules of secrecy
The Department of Social Services will not comment on specific cases it handles, whether they’re opened or closed.
Melanie Lowrance, program manager with DSS, issued a statement about the goals DSS tries to meet whenever a child is taken from a home:
“Our agency aims to ensure the safety and well-being of all children. The removal of a child from his or her home only occurs when the risk of harm to the child is so great that his or her safety cannot be assured in the home. Prior to removal, reasonable efforts are made to establish a safe environment within the family and prevent removal. If a child must be removed from their home, we strive to locate family members who are willing and able to provide care. When children are removed from the home, our social workers work with the family to improve the conditions in the home that led to our agency’s intervention.
“Our goal for all children is to achieve a safe, stable and permanent home that provides love, care and nurture.”
Mary Shinagis’ voice cracks when she talks about her grandson. Her husband called the boy his pride and joy.
The couple is hurting and said they’re afraid of what will happen to the young child in foster care. They feel they’ve been betrayed by the system for trying to do the right thing.
“All I want is to see him and to talk to him and make sure he’s OK,” said Mary Shinagis. “I know he thinks I left him.”
Source: Gaston Gazette
Adopted to Death
July 27, 2012 permalink
Michigan child protectors took four boys from parents Faith Baden and husband Kevin, terminated their parental rights and placed all four for adoption with Steven Pribbernow Sr and Jessica L Saylor. It was a subsidized adoption, one where the adopters conserved their subsidy by underfeeding the children. Six years after the boys were taken from their parents, an adoptive brother murdered one of them and injured two others. The fourth boy escaped by being in jail at the time. The adoptive mom excluded the real mother from her son's funeral. The entire story, from the point of view of the mother is enclosed. Other reports give the boys' birth surname as McBride.
Faith and Kevin Baden of Michigan had no way of knowing that six years, after Michigan DHS/CPS caseworkers secretly took their children out of school as they were appearing in court to stop CPS from putting their kids into temporary foster care, that their son Justin would end up being murdered in an abusive adopted home.
Faith Baden has five boys. Her oldest son is handicapped and is in a group home. Her other four boys, Paul, Justin, Kevin and Kody were unjustly taken away from her and her husband by the corrupt cps system in the state of Michigan. Faith and her husband Kevin are fighting to save their sons Kevin and Kody Pribbernow who are still in an abusive home in Michigan. Kody is 14 years old, and Kevin is16.
November 7, 2003 While Faith and Kevin were appearing in court, because Michigan CPS wanted to put their children into temporary foster care, unknown to Faith and Kevin, their boys, Paul, Justin, Kevin and Kody, were being secretly pulled out of school by CPS supervisor Brian Milikin and CPS caseworker Meredith Anne Harris and placed into foster care. Faith and Kevin didn’t know what hit them.
March 8, 2004 CPS caseworker Meredith Anne Harris started procedures for terminating their parental rights in Arenac County, MI. This paper was filed on May 19,2004. Once again, Faith and Kevin were unaware that this was taking place.
Between November 7, 2003 and May 19,2004 the kids remained in foster care, and their parental rights were terminated. The boys were separated, and were in three different foster homes. Their last foster home was the home of Jessica and Steven Pribbernow Sr. The Pribbernows adopted the boys in 2005. Steven Jeffery Lewis was also a foster child in Jessica and Steven Prbbernow’s home for approximately five months before he was adopted and became Steven Pribbernow Jr. Steven is not biologically related to Paul, Justin, Kevin and Kody Prbbernow.
It had been four years since Faith had seen or had any contact with her sons Paul, Justin, Kevin and Kody, when Faith received a letter from Paul in September of 2007. Where she learned Paul was in the Midland County Jail on charges of CSC against his adopted mothers two daughters. Paul had contacted his grandmother to find out how to contact his mother. In the letter Faith received from her son Paul, he told his mother about the abuse that was happening in their adopted home. Paul went on to tell Faith that his youngest brother Kody, was being abused by Jessica the adopted mother. Kody has congenital scoliosis, and has had back surgery for his scoliosis. Kody also has asthma. Paul wrote that he and his siblings were not allowed to eat when they were hungry, and that Kody was stealing food out of the cupboards and taking it to the doghouse at the back of the property to eat. Paul writes his adopted mother would not allow him to get his drivers license because she feared Paul would go home to his biological mother Faith. Paul writes that Jessica told him that she was a paid mom.
After Faith received the letter from Paul, she and Kevin went to the Midland County Jail to see Paul in the fall of 2007. It was the first time she had seen her son in four years. Faith and Kevin visited Paul every month. On Feb 21,2008 Faith and Kevin attended Paul’s sentencing. Paul’s adopted mother Jessica spoke at the sentencing and said that Paul was an animal, that he deserved to die and that she wouldn’t have anymore-foster children in her home. Jessica brought Justin and Steven to the sentencing to see their brother go off to prison. While Kevin was trying to comfort Faith, over Paul going to prison. Faith and Kevin were walking out of the courtroom, Jessica, Joshua, Justin, and Steven came out. Justin and Faith made eye contact, he was crying as well as Faith. Justin had his fists clenched, tears in his eyes, his lower lip was quivering and Jessica screamed out at him not to look at Faith, to keep his eyes on her and to go down the staircase. Faith spoke out and said hi and I love you to Justin. Faith and Kevin got into the elevator; Jessica met them at the lobby doors, and refused to let Justin come out into the lobby until Faith and Kevin had left the courthouse. It would be the last time that Faith would see her son Justin alive.
In 2008-Jessica called the Midland County Police and made a report stating that Faith and Kevin were stalking the kids on the Internet. The police called Faith and Kevin and told them that they needed to back off and to make no further contact or they were going to bring felony charges for stalking against them.
In 2009- Faith and Kevin received a letter from the Midland Prosecuting Attorney stating that they should not try to contact the kids until they turned 18 or they would have charges brought against them and they would go to jail.
On May 31,2009 - Faith received a call from her son Justin at 12:00 am. Faith was shocked to hear her sons voice and that he had called her. Justin had traveled to Lansing by himself, and was getting ready to sign up for the Marines. Justin wanted to let Faith know that he was graduating from high school with a 3.10 GPA. And that he had high achievements in all of his classes. Faith told Justin that she would like to attend his high school graduation. Justin told his mother not to come because Jessica would call the cops if she showed up. Justin gave Faith his email address and told her not to contact him, that he would contact her. Also for her not to put anything on his Myspace page, because Jessica controlled it. Justin wanted to let Faith know that since Paul had gone to prison, that Jessica was treating Steven and him poorly. Jessica was forcing him to sign a lease agreement for him to pay her 150.00 a month until he left the adopted home and entered into the Marines. Justin told Faith that he didn’t want to sign the lease that he wanted to leave Jessica’s home, but that he didn’t want to leave his younger brothers Kevin and Kody behind because he was afraid for their safety. Justin told Faith that his subsidy from the State of Michigan was going to stop when he turned 18. He told Faith he was signing up for eight years in the Marines and would be stationed in San Diego California. Justin told Faith he was going to fly her and Kevin out to San Diego so they could visit and see him at his Marine graduation. Justin told Faith that when he was working that Jessica would take most of his paycheck. Justin told Faith that he had a lot to tell them about his adopted parents. But that he couldn’t tell them until he left his adopted home. Justin wanted Faith and Kevin to know that he never stopped loving them, and that he and his brothers are not allowed to speak about them in there adopted home. But that Kevin and Kody spoke about them all the time and that they want to come home. Justin told Faith that once he had graduated from the Marines that he was coming back home to them, for the holidays.
Almost two years later on August 4, 2009 Faith and Kevin received a call from a girl who was friends with Paul, Justin, Kevin, Kody and Steven. She informed Faith at 3:00 pm that she thought Justin had been murdered that morning Faith logged onto her computer and went to the Midland Daily News web site, where she read in the comments that her son Justin had been murdered he had been stabbed to death, and her two other children Kevin and Kody had also been stabbed and were in the hospital. The stepfather was also stabbed. Faith learned that her children were stabbed by their adopted brother Steven Pribbernow Jr. Faith and Kevin had no idea what condition Kevin and Kody were in. Stunned at the days events they were desperately trying to get information on their conditions.
It was at this time, people began to post comments on the Midland Daily News web site. Some of the comments caught people’s attention. Friends of the boys began posting stories about the abuse that was happening in the adopted home. At the same time Faith had posted her information on the site. Faith was desperately trying to find out about the conditions of her boys Kevin and Kody. The next day August 5, 2009 the Midland Daily News printed the names of the victims. It was then that Faith read her boys names in the paper.
August 6, 2009- Jessica the adopted mother, called Faith and Kevin at their home, and told Faith that Justin had been murdered. Faith had asked Jessica what had happened. Jessica said that she didn’t know, other than Steven had wigged out. Jessica said that she was only going to allow Faith and Kevin 30 minutes to say their goodbyes to Justin, and if they did not agree to the 30 minutes that Faith and Kevin would not be allowed to view Justin at all. Jessica told Faith that if it was up to her, that she and Kevin would not have any rights to say goodbye. At this point the prosecuting attorney Michael Carpenter intervened and they were allowed one hour to view Justin and say their goodbyes. The adopted mother Jessica refused to allow Faith, Kevin and their family to attend Justin’s funeral. Jessica told Faith that if Kevin and Kody were to see her, that it would upset them.
Detective Benzing of the Midland Police Department called Faith and told her to not show up at Justin’s funeral, and that if she did she would be arrested. And that he was calling on behalf of Jessica Saylor.
August 14,2009 Faith and her family went to the funeral home to view Justin. It was at that time when Faith and Kevin met Kimberly Alaniz, who would then become an advocate for Faith and Kevin.
Comments kept being posted on the Midland Daily News web site, and more information was coming out about the adopted home. Faith posted her information on the site and was being treated harshly by others. At this point Jackie Schneider contacted Faith and asked if she needed help in telling her story. Faith began sending documents to Jackie, and it was at this point Jackie began helping Faith contact places for help and became a family advocate. A few months later Kimberly and Jackie would begin working together in helping Faith and Kevin contact various organizations for help.
Jessica Saylor sent Faith and Kevin a letter via her lawyer stating that they needed to stop talking about the Saylor family or they would bring up felony charges against them. Kevin contacted the lawyer and explained the situation. They never heard from Jessica’s lawyer again.
October 12,2009- Jessica Saylor the adopted mother filed for a PPO personal protection order against Faith and Kevin as well as another couple. This couple didn’t know Faith and Kevin prior to Justin’s murder but had met over the Internet. They had reached out to Faith and Kevin after Justin’s murder. All four showed up in court and the judge denied all four PPO, and claims against them that were made by Jessica Saylor.
Justin’s adopted stepbrother Steven Pribbernow was charged as an adult with second-degree murder for the murder of Justin. Steven was also charged with attempted murder of his step dad Joshua Saylor, and his adopted stepbrothers Kevin and Kody. Steven was being held in the Midland County Jail waiting for his preliminary hearing on August 18,2009. In the meantime On September 6 2009 which was Justin’s birthday, Faith went to see Paul in prison to explain what had happened to his brother Justin.
Paul wrote a letter to Steven asking him why he did it. Steven wrote Paul back, telling Paul what had happened. Paul then contacted his mother Faith to let her know that he had received a letter from Steven. Paul then sent Steven’s letter to Faith. Faith received Steven’s letter from Paul in September of 2009. In Steven’s letter he wrote Paul that if Paul hadn’t done what he did to the girls that he wouldn’t have done what he did to his family. Steven’s writes that Jessica had blamed him and Justin for what had happened to the girls. Jessica had forgiven Justin, but refused to forgive Steven for what had happened to her girls. Steven writes that the stress kept building and building, and that he had ran away because Jessica had found out that he had had a girlfriend at Jefferson Middle School. He and his brothers were not allowed to have any girlfriends. Once Jessica found out about his girlfriend, Jessica made Steven call his girlfriend and break up with her. Steven told Jessica no, Jessica slapped him twice across the face. Jessica then made Steven call up his girlfriend and break up with her while Jessica was standing by him. After the call Jessica told Steven that if he didn’t like the rules that he could move out as she had previously told Paul. Jessica told Steven to go write a journal about why he had lied about having a girlfriend, and that she would read it later. Jessica lied to Steven and never re
Source: Facebook, Faith Lynn Baden
Boy Arrested and Fostered over Rumor
July 27, 2012 permalink
When Niagara FACS got a third-hand story of sex between siblings, the older boy was arrested, charged with a crime and placed in foster care. The accused required a lesson on what sex was. The purported victim denies that a sexual act was committed.
Gossip destroys a family
This is a bizarre and scary story, about how one family has been destroyed - ripped apart by a snickered conversation between two children on a school bus.
Based on that unfounded hearsay, the school bus driver spoke to the school principal, the school called Family and Child Services who called the cops.
Because the story involves criminal charges against a 12-year-old boy, I can’t give you any real names - or even be specific about his home town.
I’ll call him Bobby Smith, a boy who was adopted soon after birth. Until recently, he lived in a small community in the Niagara region with his parents. I’ll call them John and Mary, and younger brother, who I’ll call Mike, 6.
Mary took the boys on a cruise for March Break. While they were away, her husband received a phone message from Family And Children Services Niagara that they needed to talk to them about the conversation between the two boys on the bus.
It was alleged the boys claimed Bobby had sexual relations with his younger brother.
John and Mary later discovered their exact words were: “Bobby sucks his brother. His brother sucks him back.”
It’s worth noting that Bobby, who has attention deficit disorder, doesn’t take that bus and has a different driver. Nor does he live anywhere near the two boys.
A worker from FACS Niagara talked to the two boys. Little brother Mike recalled a time when they’d been wrestling on the ground and touched each other’s privates - outside their clothing. Their father had intervened and given them a time-out and told them to stop rolling on the floor.
More seriously, though, Mike revealed that he HAD been assaulted but not by his brother. He said in an unrelated incident, the 13-year-old son of a babysitter, “stuck it in.”
The FACS worker decided to call in police.
The police officer spent another 45 minutes interviewing Mike, who steadfastly maintained that his brother hadn’t molested him, but that another boy had.
Shortly after, late one afternoon, the Smiths got a call from the Niagara Region police officer saying they were going to arrest Bobby at school the next day.
His parents asked why they’d do that in front of his peers - and said they’d bring him to the police station the next morning.
The officer balked, until John insisted that if they were going to arrest Bobby at school, he’d keep the child at home.
He is, after all, just a 12-year-old.
At the station, the officer asked Bobby a number of questions of a sexual nature: Did he know what sex was? Bobby admitted he didn’t
“That’s when you take your penis and put it in a woman’s vagina,” the cop told him.
Nothing like a crash sex-education course for the pre-teen set.
Bobby started to cry - and the cop told him, “Now I’m arresting you for sexually assaulting your brother,” - and handcuffed him.
That was just the start of the nightmare.
The family was stunned and devastated.
“I was caught like a deer in the headlights,” Mary told me.
Bobby was forced to move out of the family home - away from Mike. Bobby and his dad moved in with the children’s grandparents in Hamilton, thinking it would be a temporary measure.
FACS told them if they didn’t do that, Bobby would be put in a detention centre.
He hasn’t been home since.
When they could no longer stay in their grandparents’ basement, and when they failed to have his bail conditions lessened, the only option was for the family to sign a temporary care agreement, which put Bobby in a group home for six months. The visiting hours when Mary and John can see their son have been limited, and Bobby has limited access to other children.
At a pre-trial hearing last week, the judge suggested dropping the charges, suggesting the Smith family should get counselling instead. The Crown refused.
I was unable to get comment from the police and Family And child Services on this case specifically, but I did ask for guidelines that might relate to it.
In an email, I asked a spokesman for Niagara Regional Police if it’s normal for officers to arrest a 12-year-old at school.
“Each situation is different. While the arrest of a 12-year-old is never easy the Child Abuse Unit takes steps to minimize the impact on all parties involved while maintaining the need to protect others,” said constable Derek Watson.
As for questioning a child about sex, he had this to say: “When the police speak with child offenders, the Criminal Code and Youth Criminal Justice Act require that the child offender be spoken to in a manner to ensure they understand what is being said. Discussions of things of a sexual nature would have to occur in a sexual abuse investigation to seek out the truth.”
In response to my query on their policy on handcuffing children, Watson said it depended on the circumstances.
“Handcuffing is a use of force used to prevent a prisoner’s escape and for the member and prisoner’s safety. Their use is mandatory on all prisoners unless in the officer’s judgment the circumstances make it impossible or unnecessary (i.e. elderly, handicapped prisoners, persons requiring sign language to communicate, child.)
Family and Child Services Niagara spokesman Ann Godfrey said they bear the safety of children in mind at all times.
“Any time anyone expresses genuine concern about the safety of a child in the community, that is something we do need to look into,” she said.
“Every situation is different. Sometimes it’s a matter of interpretation.”
Crown Attorney Holly Nickel did not return my call.
Meanwhile, little Mike was molested - not by his brother, but allegedly by the babysitter’s son. That boy didn’t not go to a group home. He was allowed to go home to his family and is still on the streets of that small community, which scares and angers the Smiths.
Mary worries her six-year-old will bump into his molester.
“Our lives have been turned upside down since April,” Mary told me.
“My six-year-old year old was the victim here and continues to be the victim right along side my 12-year-old son.”
Suffer the little children? They certainly do in Niagara.
Source: Toronto Sun
July 27, 2012 permalink
Conrad Black says privatizing prisons is a bad idea. The profit motive drives prison owners to expand their business by pushing for laws defining more crimes, and lengthening sentences for those convicted. They scrape the bottom of the barrel when looking for employees.
Here is another problem not mentioned by Mr Black. When the first prison ship left Britain for Australia over two centuries ago, the crown did not want to waste a navy ship on this less than honorable mission, so a private firm was engaged for the task. The crown stocked the ship with enough food to feed the prisoners on their journey to the opposite side of the earth. Driven by a desire for increased profits, the operators fed the prisoners only half of the alloted food and on return to England sold the rest for cash. A third of the prisoners died of starvation before reaching Australia. The private operators were never subject to punitive action, but on later trips navy ships carried the prisoners. Private companies deliver good food service only so long as clients are free to go somewhere else. When clients are not free to choose, as with prisoners, quality drops, even to the starvation level.
Private prisons and private child protectors are subject to remarkably similar incentives. Child protectors hire from the bottom, they advocate for policy changes expanding the number of children in care, and that care drops below minimal standards for their wards to thrive.
Conrad Black: Privatizing Prisons 'A Catastrophic Idea' (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
Privatizing the country's prions is “a catastrophic idea,” he told The Huffington Post Canada during an editorial lunch meeting.
Black, who served nearly four years in a federal U.S. prison, in total, after being convicted on charges fraud and obstruction of justice related to his time as head of Hollinger International, said the penal system is “fundamentally not a commercial matter.”
A privatized prison "is like any other business. They want it to be bigger. So there is this constant agitation by shareholders … to have stricter laws, longer sentences, more criminal statutes, bigger prison populations."
Black was responding to news reports that U.S. private prison corporations are lobbying Ottawa for contracts, and the Correction Service of Canada is mulling contracting out some prison functions.
That the government is even considering this avenue amounts to a “confession of failure,” Black argued.
Private prison companies “absolutely scrape the bottom of the barrel” when looking for employees, and do nothing to reintegrate inmates into society, the former owner of the National Post and the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph said.
“The commodity is the prisoners,” he said.
Bloomberg news service reported earlier this month that the Correctional Service of Canada “may consider” contracting out certain prison services, such as cleaning and food preparation.
The Guardian reported in June that two prominent U.S. prison corporations -- Geo Group and Management and Training Corporation -- are actively lobbying Ottawa for contracts. A Geo Group representative met with Public Safety Minister Vic Toews last fall, according to government records.
However, a spokesperson for Toews said the government has "no appetite to pursue fully privatised prisons."
Black’s time in the U.S. prison system was spent at a government-owned facility, the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Florida. He has maintained his innocence throughout, and had two of the three fraud charges against him overturned at the U.S. Supreme Court.
But his years inside the penal system have turned him into a vociferous critic of the U.S. justice system.
Though he said he generally approved of the Conservative government in Ottawa, he described the recently enacted omnibus crime bill as a “step in the wrong direction.” He said he feared for the future of the “distressingly high” number of natives in Canada’s prison system.
Echoing arguments made by other critics, Black said excessive criminal sentences have given U.S. prosecutors the ability to force people into plea bargains, even when they are not guilty. “The plea-bargain system is a joke,” he said, adding that “any step in that direction is bad.”
Source: Huffington Post
Mother Bothered by Worker
July 26, 2012 permalink
Florida mother Lorraine Walton was constantly bothered by DCF checking up on her kids, so she grabbed the worker by the arm. She has been charged.
Mom accused of attacking DCF worker
ORLANDO, Fla. —
An Orlando woman is facing charges, accused of attacking a Department Of Children And Families worker during a home visit.
Lorraine Walton was arrested after she allegedly grabbed the worker by the arm.
It happened at the La Quinta Inn on Frontage Road, where the family lives.
Walton apparently told police she was constantly bothered by DCF checking up on her kids.
She’s since bonded out of jail.
Pathologist's Error Separates Family
July 26, 2012 permalink
When pathologist Dr Michael Belenky labeled a child's death as non-accidental, an Alberta family lost their other child for two years. When another pathologist reexamined the case, the death was classified as an accident and the family was reunited.
Pathologist denies claims in lawsuit over death of child
CALGARY — The former Calgary pathologist being sued for erroneously classifying a toddler’s accidental death as a homicide has denied any wrongdoing in the case.
A statement of defence filed in Court of Queen’s Bench on Monday said Dr. Michael Belenky’s findings in the two-year-old’s death were based on the best evidence available and were backed by his superiors at the time.
“His conduct was at all times reasonable, skilful, careful and proper in every respect and within the standard of practice of a forensic pathologist practicing in the Province of Alberta,” reads the document.
“Even if Dr. Belenky’s conclusion on the manner of death, or on any other aspect of the case, is determined to be incorrect based on additional evidence or otherwise, which is not admitted or denied, this is at most an error in judgment and does not amount to negligence.”
The child’s family is suing Belenky, 48, along with Alberta justice and child welfare officials for $2 million.
One of the allegations in the family’s suit is Belenky’s erroneous finding damaged the family’s reputation, and suspicion over the boy’s death in 2009 led to authorities placing his stepbrother, now five, in foster care for nearly two years.
Child welfare legislation prevents publishing the names of the boy or the four plaintiffs — his stepbrother, his father and his paternal grandparents.
The boy was two years old when he suffered a fatal head injury while being looked after by his stepfather at their Calgary home on April 1, 2009. He died in hospital three days later and his brother was placed in foster care a short time after.
“Dr. Belenky concluded that the child’s death was attributable to blunt head injuries consistent with non-accidental trauma sustained over a period of time and accordingly concluded that the manner of death was ‘homicide,’ ” reads the statement of defence, which adds his supervisor and the chief medical examiner agreed with the finding.
A homicide detective first raised concerns about the case in 2010 after seeing the term “non-accidental” used in a re-port written by Belenky, who was assistant chief medical examiner at the time.
The investigator requested a meeting with Belenky in August 2010 to discuss the terminology.
Documents obtained by the Herald show Alberta Justice terminated Belenky’s contract on Jan. 11, several months before it was due to expire.
In Belenky’s absence, another examiner looked at the case in response to the homicide detective’s questions.
On Jan. 31, Alberta Justice announced a review of all the criminal files handled by Belenky.
Authorities overturned Belenky’s original finding in the toddler’s death and deemed it accidental two months later.
Dr. Anne Sauvageau reviewed the file and concluded the boy probably suffered the fatal head injury falling from furniture.
“Dr. Belenky states that Dr. Sauvageau’s conclusion of accidental death was not supported by the evidence available to Dr. Belenky at the time of the autopsy,” reads the defence document.
Authorities returned the stepbrother to his family in March 2011.
Belenky’s lawyer, Michael Waite, declined to comment because the case remains before the courts.
Source: Calgary Herald
July 26, 2012 permalink
The Children's Aid Society of Simcoe County (Barrie) has overspent its budget by $1.5 million. A plea for more money appears in the press. Usually the province responds by appropriating enough money to cover the shortfall. But when several societies tried to pressure the province for more money in 2010, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services used its powers under the CFSA to fire the board and management of one obstreperous CAS, that in Huron-Perth. Which way will it go this time? We will find out soon.
Children's Aid Society has $1.5M shortfall on the books
The Children’s Aid Society (CAS) of Simcoe County is at “extreme financial risk,” says Simcoe County councillor and Penetanguishene Mayor Gerry Marshall.
Though the CAS has had a $1.5-million shortfall on its books for years, the organization’s board approved a 2012 budget that could leave them millions of dollars in debt at the end of this fiscal term, Marshall wrote in an e-mail to QMI Agency.
In May, the Simcoe County CAS — funded entirely by the province — submitted an operating budget of approximately $41 million for the year starting April 1 and ending March 31, 2013, but is still filling out paperwork to determine the amount it will be receiving.
Although the organization has its budget drawn up by March, it operates for at least three months of its fiscal year every year without knowing how much funding it will actually be allocated.
“There’s a gap there between what we need and what the ministry is providing,” said Susan Carmichael, executive director of the Simcoe County CAS, adding while the province has come through and paid off the organization’s deficit in years past, “it’s feeling different this year.”
“All sectors across the province are being asked to manage with limited resources. We’re all being asked to submit an expenditure management plan to balance our budget,” she said.
That was one of Marshall’s prime concerns when he, as the county representative on the organization’s board, voted against passing the deficit.
“Times have changed at the provincial level,” he said.
“The current answer to most funding questions that is coming from the Queen’s Park folks runs along the lines of, ‘Sorry, but we have no money,’ ” Marshall said.
It’s a dance between fiscal responsibility and providing quality service, Carmichael said.
“We have two bottom lines. We have a financial bottom line, but we have a bottom line to provide good service as well,” she said. “We could balance our budget tomorrow, but it would mean families wouldn’t get the services they need.”
The organization is always looking for ways to cut costs, she said, but has to have the resources to respond to calls right when they come in.
“While I disagreed with approving the budget, I appreciate the simple fact that the Children’s Aid Society is driven by calls to action,” Marshall said. “When the phone rings, we have to move and react.
“There is no other choice.”
Like other CAS organizations across Ontario, the Simcoe County CAS has a mandate to protect and promote the well being of children and youth. It served an estimated 1,200 families last year and currently has 455 children in its care.
The organization has been making cuts in areas that do not directly impact front-line service since 2010. It has reduced infrastructure costs by decreasing the amount it spends on building and parking lot maintenance, holding off on management decisions and doing away with a class for children with behavioural difficulties in Midland.
“It is absolutely mind-boggling to me that the province has left the legacy $1.5 million unaddressed,” Marshall said.
“At the provincial level, $1.5 million is less than a mathematical rounding error. For the province to put this type of stress on a group that is trying to assist and protect the most vulnerable of our citizens is an unnecessary burden.”
Source: Barrie Examiner
Luke Borusiewicz Inquest
July 25, 2012 permalink
An inquest has opened into the death of Luke Borusiewicz. It is unusual for the press to name a dead foster child in Australia, even when a coronial inquest is taking place. Maybe they thought concealment was futile after father Michael Borusiewicz spent years publicizing his son's death on the internet. In an earlier story, Michael's name and face were blotted out.
Child safety worker had 'no choice' when placing toddler Luke Borusiewicz in care
AN inquest into the death of a two-year-old foster child has heard his Cairns-based Child Safety Services caseworker was given ''no choice'' when it came to the home he was placed in.
Luke Borusiewicz died in January, 2009 after suffering a head injury while he was in the care of an elderly woman.
An inquest into his death opened in Cairns today, and his caseworker Elizabeth Bartley was asked whether she made the final decision regarding his placement.
''In theory, yes - but in practice I wasn't given a choice about who Luke was to stay with,'' she said.
''I was a very junior, new person.''
Ms Bartley said her supervisor made the decision, and that there was no other option but for Luke to stay with the woman in her 70s, who was looking after 3 to 4 other foster children.
She said she had "absolutely no idea" where Luke would have been placed if the carer was unavailable.
He had been with the carer for about three weeks when he slipped into a coma and died as a result of a head injury.
The inquest is set down for three days and will examine the circumstances around Luke's placement and the capabilities of his foster carer.
Source: Cairns Post
Addendum: Day two. The name of the failing foster mother is suppressed.
Foster system full before boy’s death
A toddler who died in the care of an elderly woman was placed with her largely because there were no other foster parents available, an inquest has been told.
Two-year-old Luke Borusiewicz died in hospital on January 12, 2009, after he fell from his bed while in foster care.
At the inquest into his death on Thursday, former Families Plus placement support worker Colleen Lowe said the organisation had tried urgently to find a foster carer for Luke before Christmas 2008.
‘‘There were very few options,’’ she told the inquest in Cairns.
When asked if the then 74-year-old foster carer, who cannot be named, had expressed reluctance to look after Luke, Ms Lowe said ‘‘she did’’.
‘‘She felt that he required a level of supervision that she could not provide,’’ Ms Lowe said.
Despite this, the carer agreed to look after the boy.
Families Plus far north Queensland regional manager Jeanene Lynam said there was a shortage of emergency carers at the time.
‘‘There were three carers identified ... two were unavailable,’’ Ms Lynam told the inquest.Ms Lynam said her organisation was no longer responsible for finding emergency care for children.
Earlier on Thursday, forensic pathologist Dr Paull Botterill said he found Luke’s cause of death to be head injuries consistent with falling out of bed onto a hard surface.
The inquest, before Coroner Kevin Priestly, is due to conclude on Friday.
Source: Brisbane Times
Addendum: The final day. The news disclosed the name of Luke's mother, Jacqueline Hurlstone.
Father's call for change after harrowing inquest into death of two-year-old son
THE heartbroken father of a toddler who died in a Cairns foster home will channel his anguish into a campaign urging the State Government to tighten its criteria for carers.
Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Luke Borusiewicz, 2, died in January 2009 after hitting his head at a 74-year-old foster carer’s home while she was most likely passed out due to illness.
His father and mother Jackie Hurlstone sobbed yesterday as the final day of a coronial inquest heard he may have been unconscious for almost six hours before an ambulance was called.
Mr Borusiewicz was adamant when he spoke afterwards that "Lukey didn’t die for nothing", and he will now turn his attention to lobbying the State Government for more stringent foster carer criteria.
It emerged during the inquest that the elderly foster carer, who cannot be identified, had up to five children in her care and the toddler’s parents had complained repeatedly to Child Safety Services about the situation.
Yesterday, the manager of the department’s Far North Queensland operations admitted in court she did not return the phone calls of Mr Borusiewicz, who was a recovering drug addict at the time working to be reunited with his son.
His solicitor, Sandra Sinclaire of Bottoms English Lawyers, said Mr Borusiewicz was "rendered impotent by a system that didn’t want to hear his concerns".
"He intends to lobby the State Government about there being a maximum age for carers, a limit on the number of children placed in their care, parents being able to be considered as respite carers and mandatory response times to concerns raised by parents," she said.
The three-day inquest heard Luke was put in the woman’s care on Christmas Eve, 2008, despite her initial reluctance because she already had four foster children living with her.
She relented after a second phone call from agency Families Plus, which organised carers on behalf of Child Safety Services at the time.
On January 12, 2009, the carer was ill and coping with an upset Luke, who threw a tantrum because bad weather had stopped him visiting his father.
A nine-year-old child changed Luke’s nappy and fed him lunch as the woman succumbed to her illness, later estimating she passed out about three times.
While she slept, it is thought Luke fell from a bed and hit his head.
An ambulance was called when the woman could not wake him at 4.45pm.
Mr Borusiewicz’s barrister, Nerida Wilson, told the inquest during closing submissions yesterday that Luke could have hit his head as early as 11am.
He spent six days in a coma with a fractured skull before he died.
Ms Wilson said the carer told Families Plus she was ill on the morning of Luke’s death, but there was some confusion over whether she asked for help.
Mr Borusiewicz and Ms Hurlstone had complained that their son could not be supervised properly in a house of five children with an elderly carer.
"The parents’ concerns were never allayed, and when you look back there was justification for their concerns," Ms Wilson said.
Child Safety Services’ barrister, Karen Carmody, said changes had been made to the manual given to foster carers, urging them to contact the department if they needed temporary respite due to illness.
She said the elderly woman was a "magnificent carer" and the incident was a "tragic accident" that could have happened anywhere.
Coroner Kevin Priestly gave his condolences to Luke’s parents at the end of the inquest.
"I just can’t imagine what it would be like to actually have a child pass away; I think everyone here could not think of a greater loss," he said.
Mr Priestly is examining the circumstances surrounding Luke’s foster care placement, and will hand down his findings at a later date.
Source: Cairns Post
Addendum: Father Michael Borusiewicz expresses his disappointment with the process.
Michael Borusieiwicz Everytime my barrister tried to talk about how Luke died the judge would stop her. The whole case was just total bullshit. I am a bit of a mess. Luke was the best thing that has ever happened to me, and since I lost him I have have tried to make up for it by helping everyone I can, and just about all of them have lied, ripped me off, and everything else. I am just gonna worry about me for a bit. I have a thousand dollar loan to pay off that I took out for someone who had lost their kids to help them get their lives back on track, they didn't even contact me to wish me luck in the inquest. I have given absolutely everything I have to everyone I could, which has left me constantly vulnerable and broke. I have to get my life back together,
Michael Borusieiwicz amongst so much else, is that Luke's uncle was a foster carer who tried so hard to get him, instead, two days before Luke's head was caved in and he was left to die, DoCS placed two aboriginal children with his uncle, and refused to put Luke there. The old lady died, and every time my barrister tried to expose it, the judge shut her down. It was just all bullshit. I walked out at the end when the DoCS barrister started saying how well they looked after him. 12 foster carers homes he was shifted around to i six months, starting from the age of one year old.
They also refused legal aid for my legal team, even though Luke's mother was granted legal aid. and it goes on and on what they have done
Source: Facebook, Michael Borusieiwicz
The surname is intentionally misspelled on Facebook.
Coroner Kevin Priestly has issued his final report on Luke's death. Luke suffered fatal injuries while his caretaker, anonymized to "Joy", was sleeping off her prescription drug dose. The report excuses Joy and the child care bureaucracy from culpability in the death. One of the coroner's observations come from the standard script: the circumstances surrounding Luke's death in January 2009 should be used as a case study in training foster carers and Child Safety officers in awareness of fatigue.
The Courier-Mail published an article under the byline of Michael Borusiewicz but written in the style of a professional reporter. At least the father's picture can now be published without blurring.
Child Safety took my boy away and they gave him back to me dead
SHE was tired, her medication sent her into a deep sleep and while she was unaware of what was happening, a little boy in her care died.
The tragic case of two-year-old Luke Borusiewicz has been flagged by a Queensland coroner as a reason to help the state's foster carers manage their fatigue.
Luke died in January 2009 while in the care of a 74-year-old woman who had three other foster children staying with her when she drifted into a deep sleep.
She has been cleared of any blame in his death but the case has highlighted the strains on the individuals who make the system work, and has left Luke's biological father angry.
Luke died after suffering a fractured skull in a fall from his bed while his carer was sleeping off fatigue caused by a change in her medication.
An inquest heard it was up to five-and-a-half hours before she discovered the little boy was unconscious and called an ambulance. The Cairns woman has been identified only as Joy.
Luke's father Michael Borusiewicz raised concerns at the inquest into his son's death over Joy's capability to care for so many youngsters. He also pointed to previous injuries sustained by the boy at the home as an indication of the woman's difficulty managing.
But Coroner Kevin Priestly yesterday found that Joy understood her limitations and acted within them.
"Finally, the number of children in Joy's care had no bearing on the circumstances of Luke's fall, the fact that Luke was not supervised when he fell, nor the delay in discovering he'd fallen and suffered a head injury," he said in a written finding.
The coroner also found no evidence that Child Safety failed in its responsibilities to care for and protect Luke or that the support provided to the carer by the Families Plus agency was inadequate.
But he said the circumstances surrounding Luke's death in January 2009 should be used as a case study in training foster carers and Child Safety officers in awareness of fatigue.
Luke's father dismissed the findings as "bullshit".
"Child Safety took my boy away and they gave him back to me dead," he said.
Mr Borusiewicz said he would put his energy into the Luke's Army group he formed for people battling child services. "I've lost my boy. When it happened to me, there was no one. I want to make sure other people have someone to go to," he said.
The inquest heard that Luke was removed from his parents Mr Borusiewicz and Jacqueline Hurlstone in July 2008 and placed in foster care. A change in the carer's personal circumstances meant Luke had to leave on Christmas Eve and, because Joy had provided respite care previously, she was asked to take him. Despite some reluctance, she agreed.
A girl, 9, and a boy, 3, were living with her in the three-bedroom house and on January 11 a girl, 12, arrived for a few days' emergency placement.
A regular contact visit between Luke and his dad the following day was cancelled due to flooding. Mr Borusiewicz rang the house just after 11am and Joy told him Luke had had a tantrum and gone to bed.
Mr Priestly found that Joy went to rest soon afterwards and slept until about 1.45pm when the 12-year-old girl was picked up.
"Joy laid down intending to rest and nap but fell into a deep sleep leaving the children unsupervised, an unintended consequence of her fatigue," he wrote.
The coroner found that soon after the carer fell asleep, Luke became upset and started jumping on his bed. The nine-year-old and, possibly the 12-year-old, saw him fall and hit his head on the metal bed frame and lino floor, causing a severe injury.
There was evidence that one of the girls put Luke back in his bed. Mr Priestly said he considered they did not understand the seriousness of his condition.
When she woke, Joy checked on Luke and thought he was asleep. It was not until between 4.30pm and 5pm, when she tried to wake the toddler, that she realised he was unconscious and called an ambulance. Luke had emergency surgery at Cairns Base Hospital for a fractured skull and swelling and bleeding to the brain but died six days later.
Forensic pathologist Dr Paul Botterill could not say whether the delay between the injury and treatment had any effect other than generally, the earlier the intervention, the better the chance of survival.
There was no evidence suggesting mistreatment.
Mr Borusiewicz had raised concerns about a burn and bruising when Luke was in respite care earlier with Joy. But the coroner accepted they were accidental injuries normal to a two-year-old.
Source: Courier-Mail (Australia)
Kingston CAS Runaway
July 24, 2012 permalink
In this missing-person report about Philip Sywyk, a family acquaintance has given the connection to children's aid.
Police searching for missing youth
KINGSTON — Police are asking for the public's help in locating a 15-year-old boy who has been missing for more than a month.
Kingston police said Philip Sywyk—who is described has being white with a slim build, long brown hair and weighing 130 pounds—was last seen on June 6.
Det. Adam McMullen, who is investigating the case, said Sywyk has been known to leave his house for short periods of time but has always returned.
However, McMullen said he could not comment on why police are appealing for the public's help more than a month after Sywyk was reported missing.
“There are reasons surrounding it that are hard to explain,” McMullen said.
He said police are concerned for Sywyk's safety, and is asking anyone with information to contact Kingston police at 613-549-4660.
Anonymous tips can also be made by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or on the website www.tipsubmit.com.
Source: Kingston Whig-Standard
Tanya Morgan-Zagrodney this is my friend's son Phillip James Sywyk...who has been kept from his mother, his brother and his 2 sisters 7 years now...he ran away from a so-called group home run by the aid several times now and has ran into each and eveyone of his family members...he had over the years repeatedly asked to see them and the aid has refused his repeated his requests...instead of helping him and his mom they thought it best to keep him away...they also reported him as a white (causcasion) 15 yr old...Phillip is North American Indian...earlier today (July 14, 2012) they caught Phillip...but where are they gonna return him too?
Source: Facebook, Reform the CAS NOW
July 24, 2012 permalink
Mother Heather Kaminsky, who lost two children to child protectors in Florida, fled to Kentucky and traded her third baby to friends Jeremy and Jamiee Brown in exchange for a pickup truck later sold for $800 plus drugs. All three adults have been arrested and the baby is in the hands of Kentucky social services.
Couple Trades Truck for Baby
A Kentucky couple pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that they traded their truck for a baby.
Husband and wife Jeremy and Jamiee Brown are accused of trading their 1999 Dodge Dakota pickup truck with the mother of a newborn baby boy, Heather Kaminsky.
"It sounds outlandish; it really does," admits Lt. Rodney Van Zant of the Laurel County Sheriff's Department.
Investigators say Kaminskey, a 30-year-old from Corbin, is also wanted on methamphatimine charges.
Deputies say she was living in Florida, and Social Services there had already taken two children from her.
"She fled to Kentucky to have the child and avoid that child being taken by Social Services," says Lt. Van Zant.
Investigators say the trade happened in January, not long after Kaminsky gave birth.
Since then, the baby boy, now 6-months-old, was raised at Kaminsky's childhood friend Jaimee Brown's home..
"I honestly believe they had the best intentions," says Lt. Van Zant. "But the way they went about it was the wrong way."
Investigators say Kaminsky eventually sold the truck for $800 and meth.
The Browns face human trafficking charges and up to 20 years in jail if convicted.
Investigators say the baby boy shows no signs of abuse, and is with Social Services.
Authorities are working with Florida police to find Kaminsky.
Mother Who Allegedly Traded Baby For Truck Arrested In Florida
The mother who allegedly traded her newborn baby for a truck has been arrested in Florida.
Heather Kaminsky, 30, is being held at the Putnam County jail. Kaminsky allegedly traded her baby to Jaimee and Jeremy Brown in Laurel County for a 1999 Dodge Dakota.
The Browns have both pleaded not guilty to human trafficking. They're expected back in court August 17.
There is no word on when Kaminsky will be returned to Kentucky.
Source: LEX 18 Lexington, KY
From the looks of things, this seems to be a case of long-time friends helping each other out. The state of Kentucky intervened with the assertion of trafficking where it did not really apply. Maybe social services felt threatened by the private, and informal, competition.
July 23, 2012 permalink
Mother Felicia Thompson managed to penetrate security at the Michigan Department of Human Services after her child was seized. The article shows how much security the department uses, and how they plan to upgrade it in response to the failure to exclude Mrs Thompson. Social workers in need of this level of security cannot be said to engage in a helping profession.
DHS breach prompts security changes
Felicia Thompson allegedly threatened CPS worker
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The Department of Human Services told Target 8 it reviewed procedures after a woman bypassed security at its Grand Rapids office last week and will institute changes as soon as it can.
Court records show Felicia Thompson, 24, threatened a DHS employee and spat on a GRPD officer last Wednesday.
Police confirmed Thompson was angry because Child Protective Services -- a part of DHS -- removed one of Thompson's children from her custody.
In a probable cause hearing last week, an officer said Thompson rode the building's elevator to the third floor with a custodian. The third floor is normally secured and only accessible by a key card swiped in the elevator.
While on the third floor, police say Thompson threatened to assault a DHS case worker. Court records show the worker was not there at the time.
The new changes DHS announced Monday includes an extra security guard on the third floor who will check identification and keep an eye out for people they don't recognize.
Wednesday, GRPD was called and later arrested Thompson a few blocks away, which is when she allegedly spat on an officer.
Target 8 brought in a news camera to the branch on Monday, just a few days after the incident. The crew took video and even rode the elevator as one security guard oversaw the entrance and a couple others watched the second floor.
"In talking with various case workers that work in that office, they've had on-going problems with security and threats," said Ray Holman, a spokesman for UAW Local 6000, the DHS union.
Holman explained the dangers of the job.
"You're dealing with complicated family matters. You're dealing with people's benefits," said Holman.
He said the Grand Rapids office is missing some of the security measures found at other DHS branches.
"Many of the branch offices for DHS around the state have metal detectors, and that particular location does not," Holman said.
DHS said that it is going to institute security changes at the Grand Rapids branch. Security guards on the third floor will check identification and keep an eye out for people they don't recognize.
Source: WOOD Television
Child Dies, Nobody Cares
July 23, 2012 permalink
Kentucky law mandates an internal review by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in every case in which a child dies, or nearly dies, because of abuse or neglect and the cabinet "had prior involvement with the child or family". But when a Kentucky newspaper pried reports out of the cabinet (after a year of litigation), the paper found that in six out of 41 cases of child death no internal review was conducted. Read the lame cop-outs in the enclosed article.
Watchdog Report: Reviews of child abuse deaths not always completed
Cabinet did not do required evaluation in some abuse cases
FRANKFORT — Derek Cooper was just 2 years old when his father, Brandon Fraley, put his hands over the crying toddler's mouth "until the child was silent," according to a state file on the case.
"The love and laughter that once surrounded our family has disappeared and in its place a heavy fog of despair has settled," Jessica Wall, the boy's mother, wrote in a victim impact statement when Fraley was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
According to the social services case file on Derek, which the Lexington Herald-Leader obtained through a court order, there was a previous allegation of domestic violence by Fraley in 2006 that was unsubstantiated by social workers. There also were other previous reports involving Fraley when he was a child.
Still, state child-protection workers did not conduct an internal review of Derek's death, even though state law mandates such a review by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in every case in which a child dies, or nearly dies, because of abuse or neglect and the cabinet "had prior involvement with the child or family."
A Herald-Leader analysis of 41 child fatalities in 2009 and 2010 found at least six cases where the cabinet did not do an internal review even though there were previous reports involving the family before the child died. The reviews are supposed to examine the cabinet's actions in a case to see if there were missteps, and to identify needed improvements and training that could prevent future deaths.
In some of those six instances, the cabinet's prior contact with adults in the cases occurred when they were children themselves, and the cabinet does not do internal reviews in such cases, said Jill Midkiff, a cabinet spokeswoman. She cited that reason in Derek's death, but provided no explanation about why the 2006 domestic violence investigation of Fraley didn't trigger an internal review of Derek's death.
Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said if the cabinet is not doing internal reviews as required, officials may miss an opportunity to fix problems in the child-protection system.
"One of the reasons why they are so important is for systems change," Brooks said of the internal reviews. "It's like a coach looking at a game tape — you have to figure out what went right and what went wrong."
A lack of confidence in the cabinet's internal reviews was one reason Brooks and other advocates applauded a move last week by Gov. Steve Beshear to create a new panel outside the cabinet to review child deaths and critical injuries caused by abuse and neglect in Kentucky.
The 17-member panel will meet quarterly, review the cases and make recommendations. The review panel will be housed in the Department of Justice and Public Safety, and the people on the review panel will not be cabinet staff.
Brooks said the external reviews can serve as a check to make sure the cabinet is following its protocols consistently, backing up its promises with actions. Brooks said he hopes outside reviews also will examine the adequacy of the cabinet's internal reviews.
There were wide inconsistencies in how different child-protection offices around the state conducted internal reviews in 2009 and 2010, and in the scope of recommendations they produced. Some of the reviews appeared to be thorough, but in others, child-protection workers produced only one-page reports with little detail on what happened to the children and no assessment of potential improvements, a Herald-Leader review found.
State Rep. Susan Westrom, D-Lexington, who sponsored an unsuccessful measure to create an external child-fatality review panel earlier this year, said she was encouraged Beshear moved to create such a body. But the cabinet also needs to do good internal reviews, Westrom said.
"The cabinet for so long has hidden everything it could," she said.
The death of 5-month-old Angel Tucker also did not spur an internal review by the cabinet, even though there was a prior report involving Brittany Felty Garcia, Angel's mother, a month before Angel's death.
The Medical Center at Bowling Green called cabinet officials after Garcia brought Angel to the hospital in November 2009 after reportedly falling down stairs with the baby.
Hospital staff contacted the cabinet because Garcia had delayed bringing the baby in for treatment, but child-protection workers did not accept the report. Instead, the cabinet made a "resource linkage," meaning a link to other services or information.
Angel, who lived in Morgantown, died Dec. 4, 2009, as a result of blunt-force injuries to her head and spine.
Midkiff, the cabinet spokeswoman, said the commissioner who oversees child-protection workers would review Angel's case on Monday to explain why an internal review was not conducted.
Other examples in which the cabinet did not do an internal review include:
- Kayla Mosley, 2, who died of an acute drug overdose in March 2010 in Bell County. Authorities believe her parents were not watching her when she swallowed their pills. According to the case file, there was at least one prior report involving her parents in 2008.
Details about the prior report were removed from the file provided to the newspaper, as they were in many other case files. The newspaper, along with The Courier-Journal of Louisville, is in an ongoing legal battle with the cabinet over how much information from the case files the state must release.
Midkiff said the state would review Kayla's case on Monday to determine why an internal review was not conducted.
- Kiara Smith, who was 12 months old and lived in Grant County when she died as a result of blunt force trauma in January 2009. Her mother's boyfriend, Brandon Barnhill, was convicted of beating her to death. The case file indicates that there were no reports against Kiara's mother, who was 17 at the time of Kiara's death. However, there were numerous reports regarding Kiara's grandmother.
Barnhill's conviction was overturned on appeal, but the prosecutor, Jim Crawford, said he will retry Barnhill on the murder charge.
Midkiff said no internal review was conducted because the state does not do them in cases where the cabinet's prior involvement with an adult came when the person was a child.
- Cole Frazier, 21 months, who was shot and killed by his father in May 2009 in Nelson County. The cabinet had received multiple reports of domestic violence between Cole's parents while the child was present, including one days before Cole's death. The cabinet did not investigate the last claim of domestic violence because Cole's parents did not live together at the time, according to the case file.
When the Herald-Leader first reported about Cole's death in January, Midkiff said no review was required because there was no ongoing case involving the family, and the prior reports involved domestic violence among adults in the home, not allegations of abuse or neglect to the little boy.
- Kayden Branham, also known as Kayden Daniels, who died in May 2009. The 20-month-old Wayne County toddler drank a caustic drain cleaner that had allegedly been used in making methamphetamine at the mobile home where Kayden and his 14-year-old mother were staying.
Kayden's mother had been removed from her parents' home and placed in foster care earlier, but she and the baby had been returned to her mother's home before Kayden's death. All three — the grandmother, the 14-year-old mother and Kayden — were still being supervised by the cabinet at the time he died.
The cabinet said it did not do an internal review because there was a court order in place for a short time that barred anyone other than mental-health professionals and defense attorneys from talking to Kayden's mother about his death.
However, that order would not have prevented an internal review. Also, it was later dissolved.
An attorney involved in the criminal case related to Kayden's death said a review would show that the cabinet didn't do enough to protect the boy.
In another high-profile case, the cabinet acknowledged it did not do an internal review after the death of Amy Dye, a 9-year-old who was killed in February 2011 by her adopted brother in Todd County.
The cabinet had prior involvement with the family, facilitating Amy's adoption by her great-aunt and later checking into reports from school officials about concerns that the vivacious girl was being abused at home, according to records.
The cabinet said it had no jurisdiction to pursue those reports because a sibling, not a parent, was allegedly hurting Amy, but Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd flatly rejected that assertion in a ruling last November.
It is clear under state law that abuse includes situations in which a parent or guardian ignores physical abuse of one child by another, or fails to take action, Shepherd said.
"This case presents a tragic example of the potentially deadly consequences of a child welfare system that has completely insulated itself from meaningful public scrutiny," Shepherd wrote last November.
Cabinet officials said the agency did not do an internal review because Amy died at the hands of a sibling, not a parent or guardian.
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader
Real Parents Charged
July 22, 2012 permalink
In Oklahoma kidnapping charges are pending against — who else? — the real parents. The father is Robert Hutchisson, in this kind of case the press does not even mention the name of the jailed mother.
Missing Texas Brother, Sister Found Safe Near OKC
OKLAHOMA CITY -
A brother and sister who went missing from their foster home in Plano, Texas, have been found safe near Oklahoma City, according to Plano police.
According to KTVT, a CBS affiliate in Dallas, officers with the Plano Police Department were called the evening of July 11 on a missing person incident. Police learned that 14-year-old Brittnae Hutchisson and her brother, 4-year-old Brandon Hutchisson, could not be located by their foster parents.
During the investigation of this case, Texas authorities determined that the children might be with their biological father, Robert Hutchisson, or he might have knowledge of their whereabouts.
On Friday, July 20, Oklahoma law enforcement authorities located the children near Oklahoma City, who were with their biological parents at the time.
Child protective services took the children back into the custody. The parents of the children were both arrested for interference with child custody. They are being held on a $25,000 bond, according to Plano police.
Police have not released any further details at this point. News 9 will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
No Crying Allowed at Funeral
July 22, 2012 permalink
We have previously encountered a case in which social workers refused to leave parents alone with their dead child after he died in their so-called care. Today's story tells what happened to a mother after they drove her husband to suicide.
Lena May Gustafson I understand that children's aid is supposed to protect children but I think in some cases they abuse their power. For example my family was destroyed because of them. We were a happy family of four. My dad and my mom my sister and I were. Had everything we needed. I will admit sometimes I would get a spank when I deserved it. I use to get into fights at school cuz I was bullied. Anyway we were taken away because my mom and dad wanted to relax and have a drink with some friends after my sister and I went to sleep. I can't ever see my dad again because of them. He committed suicide because they wouldn't let us go see him and they had the nerve to show up at my dad's funeral. I asked them why they came. I was told it's to make sure my mom doesn't cry. Really? It's a funeral. Of course people are going to cry at a funeral. I told them to get out and then I told my mom that they were sitting in the back of the room and they only came to see that she wasn't crying. I mean come on. I was thinking and so what if she is crying. What are they going to do about her crying? Take us away? Like I was going to let that happen. I told them it's all their fault that my dad killed himself.
Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...
Evidence from Teens
July 22, 2012 permalink
Vern Beck reports that some teens have been unable to get their side of the case into the court record, sometimes because of blocking by their own lawyer. He is asking for reports from anyone, adult or teenager, who has personal experience with this problem.
Vernon Beck Over the past months, Canada Court Watch has received a number of requests from teens asking for information about how to submit their own affidavit to the court. Many of these teens complain that their court appointed children's lawyers are refusing to submit important information to the court which can significantly help judges so these teens say that they want to do their own affidavits. One teen even passed us a audio recording of his children's lawyer telling her that the lawyer is the boss over her and telling the teen that it is up to the lawyer to decide for her what will be submitted to the court, not the teen. Technically, this is an obstruction of justice by the lawyer.
A volunteer citizens group is working on such a self help guide for teens. If you have had experience with a teen submitting an affidavit and would like to share your experience or knowledge, then please contact CCW by email. The committee is looking for examples of the barriers that some teens or parents may have faced in court or by court administration staff, case law, former court order, transcripts, etc. which relate to this issue. All input is greatly appreciated.
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
Saskatchewan Foster Death
July 21, 2012 permalink
Allen Charles Davidson has been sentenced for killing 13-month-old foster child Genesis Vandell Parenteau-Dillon in Saskatchewan last November. When this story first broke the Lloydminster Meridian Booster withheld the child's name because of a publication ban.
Man gets 10 years in baby's death
Child died in 2011
A man who killed a 13-month-old foster child in his care has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
Allen Charles Davidson, 38, was the only adult present when the victim, Genesis Vandell Parenteau-Dillon, suffered numerous blunt force trauma to the head and torso at a home in Paradise Hill on Nov. 1, 2011, according to facts presented at Battleford Court of Queen's Bench Friday.
Davidson's long criminal record and addiction to narcotics surprised Avaline Parenteau, the mother of the victim and has raised questions about why a child protection agency placed Genesis and another toddler in the home.
"The government bodies that are responsible for placing the child in that home still need to be accountable," said lawyer Tracy Buffalo, who represented Parenteau when she was fighting to regain custody of the infant.
"If the Onion Lake Child and Family Services and the Ministry of Social Services are going to be apprehending children and placing them in their care then they have a duty to protect those children. "There needs to be a public inquiry into child protection in Saskatchewan, both in aboriginal and nonaboriginal agencies. Both systems are flawed."
Davidson had been living common law with the foster mother, Cheryl McLellan, for about six months when the fatal assault occurred.
McLellan was at a foster parent training program at Onion Lake First Nation at the time, Crown prosecutor William Burge told Justice Dan Konkin.
Text messages from their cellphones showed Davidson sent McLellan a message at 1: 41 p.m. informing her Genesis had hit his head on the TV stand and had a "goosebump."
At 4: 06 p.m. Davidson texted that the baby was not looking good. McLellan told him to seek help from the neighbours.
Teacher Robert Stewart lived next door and is a trained first responder for the health region.
He found the baby lying in the middle of the kitchen floor and performed CPR until the ambulance arrived.
The child was taken to hospital in Lloydminster and then flown to Saskatoon, but died the next day.
An autopsy found blunt force trauma on five separate regions of the skull, with eight to 10 "impacts," Burge said.
Such injuries have significant effect and cause the brain to start swelling almost immediately, the report said.
"It's an extremely perilous state right from the beginning. The pressure on the brain stem causes breathing to be compromised almost immediately," Burge said, referring to the autopsy report.
Bruises around the child's eyes were described as "raccoon eyes," his lip was torn inside and there were severe contusions on his upper and lower back, left buttock, left forearm and right forearm.
Davidson was charged with seconddegree murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser included offence of manslaughter, after hearing the Crown's evidence at a preliminary hearing in Lloydminster in May.
He was questioned by police more than once and gave differing accounts in which he denied responsibility.
Davidson stood in court Friday and apologized and said he takes responsibility for his actions, but as he walked to an RCMP vehicle outside court, he still refused to say anything about the circumstances of the crime.
Davidson was on probation at the time, related to a conviction for break and enter and assault, for which he had been sentenced to 18 months in jail and 12 months on probation.
His criminal record included 85 prior convictions, including a 2002 conviction for assault and unlawful confinement and two arson convictions.
"He has spent a significant part of his life in custody," Burge said.
Defence lawyer Peter Abrametz said Davidson has a long-standing addiction to narcotics and was using morphine and Dilaudid the day of the incident.
"He passed out or napped periodically during the day," Abrametz said.
Drug addiction is behind many of the mainly property related crimes on Davidson's criminal record, Abrametz said.
In her victim impact statement, Parenteau said Genesis was "the most beautiful, happiest baby."
"Some days I wake up and think it was all a bad dream," she said.
"I want the pain to go away to the point I want to take my own life," she said, but added that she never would because she has other children to care for.
"You left a scar on our hearts for the rest of our lives."
Parenteau's attempt to have Genesis returned to her care was to be heard in family court on Nov. 12.
Parenteau has always said Genesis was not in need of care and was fighting to get him back.
Outside court, Parenteau said, "I hope people who have kids in care do a check and make sure their kids are in a safe home. Nobody should ever have to go through a thing like this.
"They don't give biological parents those types of rights. They make us feel like we're the bad person.
"When this happened they sure made me feel like it was my fault."
Buffalo said that when agencies place a child in a home with an individual with 85 prior convictions "there's something wrong with the system."
Source: Saskatoon Star-Phoenix
Addendum: The child Genesis Vandell Parenteau-Dillon was not removed from her mother as the result of legal action ("paperwork" in the article). According to his grandmother he was "scooped up" by a social worker during a routine visit to the reserve's clinic. The family ignored advice on our help page: "Never take your children to a place where CAS workers are present, unless required to by court order. They may use some trick to distract you, while they hustle the children away to a new custodian." As justifications for the removal of Genesis the CBC says mother Avalene Parenteau had a history of drinking and addiction, and that she grew up in foster care herself. The press does not say how much social services contributed to these problems. Having seven children removed by social workers would drive anyone to drink.
The boy's grandmother Nellie Harper was willing to care for the child, and was already a qualified foster mother who had cared for several of her own grandchildren. But social workers ignored the rule requiring preference for relative placement. Instead they placed the boy with stranger Cheryl McClellan, a woman related to one of the reserve's social workers. McClellan's boyfriend was a drug-addict with 38 prior convictions who had spent a substantial part of his life behind bars. He battered the boy to death.
As usual in foster death cases, the foster parents are named and accused. The social workers who threw the boy to the lions are not named or even mentioned as wrongdoers in the case.
Mother calling for changes to reserve foster care
Avalene Parenteau's 13-month-old son was brutally beaten and killed while in a foster home.
The mother of a baby killed in a foster home last year wants her reserve's child welfare agency shut down after she says officials failed to protect the child.
Avalene Parenteau told CBC News that Onion Lake Cree Nation's child welfare officials didn't do their job when selecting a home for her baby boy.
Genesis Parenteau-Dillon was killed last November, two months after being removed from Parenteau's custody.
The 13-month-old suffered severe brain damage and died, after his foster mother asked her live-in boyfriend to babysit him.
Allen Charles Davidson has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter.
"I started picturing it," said Parenteau. "What he must have done to him and all I could think of is 'why?' I just, I just wanted to know why."
Parenteau's family blames the reserve's child welfare agency. They said Genesis should never have been placed in the care of Cheryl McClellan, his foster mother.
The family said that if the agency ran a criminal record check on the people living in the foster home, they would have found that Davidson was a drug addict with 85 prior convictions.
What went wrong in Genesis' case
Genesis's grandmother, Nellie Harper, said she's a qualified foster parent and has looked after several of her grandsons.
Harper said she would have been happy to take care of Genesis. Provincial policy states family should be the first people asked before putting a child in care.
But in this case, Harper said her offer to care for Genesis was ignored.
She said social workers did not prepare required paperwork before apprehending Genesis.
Harper said he was "scooped up" by a social worker during a routine visit to the reserve's clinic.
From there, he was left in the care of McClellan. She lives in Paradise Hill, more than 50 km from the reserve.
CBC News has learned the infant may have been placed in McClellan's care because she is related to one of the reserve's social workers.
The foster mom didn't tell anyone Davidson had a drug problem and a long list of previous convictions.
On the day Davidson was babysitting Genesis, McLellan was at a course. By late in the afternoon, Davidson called the next-door neighbour for help.
That neighbour discovered the infant unconscious, face down on the living room floor.
Autopsy results show the baby died of brain haemorrhaging — blunt force trauma on five parts of his skull and bruises all over his body.
"I know for damn sure if he was in my care he would never look like this,” said Parenteau. “Nothing like this would ever happen to him."
Davidson was charged with second degree murder and pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Facts presented in court showed Genesis did not trip and fall, but was badly beaten. Davidson was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the death.
Onion Lake Child and Family Services, an agency with problems
In most of the province, the Saskatchewan Foster Families Association does background checks.
They happen when someone new moves in, or there's a major change in the dynamics of the foster home. However, its jurisdiction does not stretch to foster placements by reserve agencies.
In this case it was up to the Onion Lake Family Services to run these types of checks.
No one from the agency wanted to comment on the case. Its lawyer, Marilyn Adsit told CBC News there was no check done on Davidson "because he wasn't the foster parent."
A number of Onion Lake Cree Nation's residents said they have serious concerns about the people running Indian Child and Family Services.
CBC News has learned the agency has gone through six directors in the last 10 years. Within two months of Genesis's death, almost every person who worked for the agency had either quit or had been fired.
"Yes, it's probably time now to find the right management and supervisors," said Onion Lake Cree Nation Chief, Wallace Fox. "That's part of this whole internal review we're doing."
"With all the resources and training they have, they're doing what they can. There's always room for improvement in any organization."
But Fox also wants answers.
"I will not tolerate this to continue,” he said. “Unfortunately it took an incident such as this to wake everybody up.”
Fox said there are currently 84 children in foster care on the reserve.
Onion Lake Child and Family Services has a budget of $5.5 million dollars in 2012. Three million of that goes directly to foster families.
Next steps for Parenteau and Onion Lake Family Services
Genesis was the youngest of seven children for Parenteau. Her other six children are still in the reserve's foster care system.
Parenteau knows what it's like to live in a foster home. She grew up in one herself.
Despite her history of drinking and addiction she managed to hold on to Genesis the longest.
She told CBC she's trying to clean up her act and intends to enter a six-week rehabilitation program offered on the Onion Lake Cree Nation.
Parenteau and her family want to see agency shut down, a public inquiry and an apology.
"At least admit that they did something wrong," said Parenteau. "They can at least learn from their mistakes. I know people make mistakes."
Parenteau and her lawyer said the reserve and the province need to make big changes in the way they operate child welfare agencies.
Currently the Onion Lake Child and Family Services and the Ministry of Social Services are doing a joint review of what went wrong in Genesis' case.
The review will not be made public, but will be handed to the office of the Children's Advocate who may decide to investigate further based on the findings.
Staff at the office of the Children's Advocate say there may be no need for a public inquiry.
A report was released in 2010 by the Saskatchewan Child Welfare Review Panel highlighting 12 recommendations for changes to the way foster care and other child protection services are provided in the province.
Some of the reforms recommended that resources be focussed on prevention services and family supports.
July 21, 2012 permalink
In a large cutback 600 employees of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services will be laid off.
600 will get layoff notices at DCFS
375 positions to be eliminated, other positions realigned to bolster front-line staff
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services began issuing layoff notices to 600 employees on Friday.
The agency is trying to reduce its workforce by a net of about 375 positions and still meet its obligations to care for abused and neglected children and provide other services.
The department said the job eliminations were forced by the General Assembly, which cut $86 million from the department budget this fiscal year.
Gov. Pat Quinn wants to return $50 million to DCFS by reallocating it from the Department of Corrections budget. Lawmakers, who designated that money to keep open prisons and juvenile detention facilities Quinn wants to close, would have to approve the change.
“This is a people business, and I understand the deep impact this has on the many people who will lose their jobs,” DCFS director Richard Calica wrote in a letter to his staff. “It leaves a mark on all of us. … In a field where we strive to help others in need, we now find ourselves in need of understanding and support.”
Calica intends to realign positions in order to staff the front lines, including opening 250 direct service vacancies in the department’s casework and investigations areas. The reassignments are needed to comply with a federal consent decree limiting the number of cases each investigator is required to handle.
“We will be working with the union throughout to see that affected employees understand their options and are able to act on them,” Calica wrote.
Henry Bayer, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said DCFS’ headcount has been cut in half since 2001.
“Past cuts already left DCFS employees struggling to keep pace,” Bayer said. “
Kendall Marlowe, a spokesman for the department, said no estimate is available of how many positions in Springfield are affected. There will be layoffs in Springfield, Marlowe said, but some of the front-line positions will also be based in the city. AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall said he expects more than 20 layoffs in Springfield.
Funding in doubt
The positions to be cut mostly deal with programs aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect, Marlowe said. These are programs where the department has determined that it needs to intervene, but which are not severe enough to go to court to ask that the children be removed from their homes.
“We’re having to greatly reduce the scope of those,” Marlowe said.
The layoffs are to take effect Sept. 30, Bayer noted.
AFSCME also wants the legislature to restore funding for four prisons Quinn wants to close, but that can be done only if the $50 million Quinn wants to use at DCFS stays with the Department of Corrections.
Rep. Sara Feigenholz, D-Chicago, chairwoman of the House appropriations committee that deals with DCFS, said she it’s too early to predict whether legislative leaders will agree to shift the funding.
“Every agency suffered and has for the last two years,” she said. “This is not an isolated situation. I just think that this has been a devastating year.”
Governor’s proposed budget: 2,961
Headcount after the layoffs: 2,586
Source: State Journal-Register
Addendum: Plans reversed in October.
DCFS layoffs averted — for now
State agency optimistic that legislators will restore some funding in veto session
Nearly 300 workers slated to be laid off from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services won a reprieve Thursday amid high hopes that the struggling agency can recoup funding from the state Legislature.
A nearly $90 million cut in the agency's $1.2 billion budget had earlier prompted administrators to announce the elimination of staff caseworkers from an intervention program that attempts to keep troubled families together.
In separate messages to DCFS staff Thursday, agency director Richard Calica and union leaders confirmed that half of the budget cuts are expected to be reversed when the Legislature returns Nov. 27 for its fall veto session.
There still is no guarantee of that, and the revenue source is uncertain, but Calica said he hopes no employees will be laid off and his plan to reorganize the agency to better protect at-risk children will proceed. Some 100 unfilled positions, equaling a 6 percent reduction, still will be eliminated.
"Members of the General Assembly from both chambers and both parties have expressed support for this approach," Calica wrote to staff. "The past few months have been trying for all of us, and I appreciate the professionalism you've shown in the face of such uncertainty. With the support of the General Assembly, a solution is now in sight."
Last year, 14,000 children remained in their homes after their parents received help through the intact family services program, according to DCFS data. DCFS workers handled 80 percent of the cases, while the remaining 20 percent were referred to contractual private agencies.
The Tribune has reported that the DCFS cuts would have meant at least 1,500 fewer families would be eligible for the program, a 33 percent reduction that critics argued would result in higher foster care rolls.
In recent months, the newspaper also has documented the agency's clogged hotline and staggering investigative caseloads that have led to overdue and sloppy child-protection investigations. Questions have been raised about whether some recent child-abuse deaths could have been avoided.
The seniority-based layoffs were expected to begin this month. DCFS officials said that if the money is restored, the agency through a reorganization plan could beef up its child-protection investigative unit by 138 workers and reduce caseloads to below the mandated ratio of about 12 cases to 1 worker.
In June, Gov. Pat Quinn pushed to stave off the layoffs by diverting some savings from his plan to close some state prison facilities. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union, which represents DCFS and prison employees, argues that the prison closings are unsafe and suggests looking elsewhere for the money.
Though state revenues have increased beyond projections, lawmakers such as Rep. Sara Feigenholtz said so have Illinois' bills. The North Side Democrat said that while lawmakers still have many questions for Calica to ensure the money isn't wasted, their ongoing discussions are encouraging.
"I think it's still 'wait and see,'" said Feigenholtz, chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee for Human Services. "We never like to lay anyone off, but we need to ensure the department does due diligence with the taxpayers' dollars and makes good service decisions on behalf of children."
Source: Chicago Tribune
July 21, 2012 permalink
On July 20 James Eagan Holmes went on a shooting spree in an Aurora Colorado movie theater during a showing of The Dark Knight Rises, killing twelve people and injuring 58 more. The press now reports he was using the drug Vicodin. Side effects of Vicodin include: altered mental states (eg, dizziness, light headedness), paranoia and hallucinations.
Investigators Still Processing Scene Of Mass Shooting
Police Say They First Thought Shooter Was An Officer
AURORA, Colo. -- New details are emerging about the shooting at an Aurora movie theater that killed 12 people and injured 58 more.
7NEWS has learned that the first responding officers mistook the suspected gunman as one of their own.
James Holmes was arrested at the back of the Aurora Century 16 movie theater about 12:40 a.m. as he was leaving the theater.
Holmes was dressed in black and was wearing full tactical gear, including a ballistics helmet, a ballistics vest, a groin protector, throat protector, tactical gloves and other gear, police said.
He was well armed with an AR-15 .223-caliber rifle, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun and a .40-caliber Glock handgun, police said. Another .40-caliber Glock handgun was found in the suspect's white Hyundai behind the theater.
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said Holmes came with a full arsenal.
"In the last 60 days, he purchased four guns at local metro gun shops, and through the Internet, he purchased more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition, more than 3,000 rounds of .223 for the assault rifle, 3,000 rounds of .40-caliber ammunition for the two Glocks in his possession and 300 rounds for the 12-gauge shotgun," Oates said. " Also through the Internet, he purchased multiple magazine for the .223-caliber assault rifle, including one 100-round drum magazine which was recovered from the scene."
The drum could allow a shooter to fire 50 to 60 rounds in a minute -- even as a semi-automatic, Oates said.
ABC News reported that Holmes identified himself as the Joker, and that his hair had been dyed to resemble the villain played by Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight." Police declined to comment on that detail.
7NEWS has learned Holmes legally bought the firearms at a Bass Pro Shop and Gander Mountain Guns within the last several months. The first gun was bought in May.
Oates gave no motive for the attack. The FBI said there was no indication of ties between Holmes and any terrorist groups.
Investigators said they have no idea how many rounds were fired, but that it was many.
One source believed the ammo drum for the AR-15 had jammed sometime during the shooting.
Sources describe an eerie scene with dying and wounded people on the floor, strobe lights flashing through the smoke, screaming sirens and the Batman movie playing in the background.
The incident started with Holmes in the theater watching a movie for a few minutes. Witnesses said he left and returned dressed in the body armor and tactical gear, according to sources.
He threw what appeared to be tear gas grenades and began firing three weapons according to sources.
Holmes then exited the theater, where he was confronted by at least two officers.
While Vicodin comes in pills of 500 mg and up, the source indicated that police were told Holmes took 100 mg of Vicodin.
Moviegoers said they did not know what was happening when they heard a hissing sound and smelled smoke. Some thought the attack was part of the movie, since it occurred during a battle scene about 20 minutes into the movie. Then they saw a silhouette of a person in the smoke at the front of the theater near the screen, pointing a gun at the crowd.
"There were bullet (casings) just falling on my head. They were burning my forehead," Jennifer Seeger said, adding that the gunman fired steadily except when he stopped to reload.
Seeger said she was in the second row, about 4 feet from the gunman, when he pointed a gun at her face. At first, "I was just a deer in headlights. I didn't know what to do," she said. Then she ducked to the ground as the gunman shot people seated behind her.
She said she began crawling toward an exit when she saw a girl about 14 years old "lying lifeless on the stairs." She saw a man with a bullet wound in his back and tried to check his pulse, but "I had to go. I was going to get shot."
Many of those injured or killed were young adults, teens or kids. The victims range in age from 4 months to 45 years old. The 4 month old has been discharged and is doing well, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Police said 911 calls started coming in 12:39 a.m. Police said officers were on the scene with 60 to 90 seconds and immediately arrested the suspect.
Victims were rushed to hospitals in police cars by responding officers because there were not enough ambulances.
Ten people died in the theater, two more died at the hospital, Aurora police said. The bodies were not removed from the theater until late Friday afternoon.
Witnesses told 7NEWS that the gunman opened fire in Theater 9, but bullets also pierced the wall with the adjacent Theater 8 injuring moviegoers.
Witness Shayla Roeder said she saw a young teenage girl on the ground bleeding outside the theater.
"She just had this horrible look in her eyes .... We made eye contact, and I could tell she was not all right," Roeder said.
The Aurora police response was swift, since police headquarters is less than a mile away from the theaters. More than 250 police officers from across the metro area -- from Brighton to Jefferson County -- were also called out to respond to the mass shooting.
Source: KMGH Denver
Addendum: A sidebar to this story shows that the function of men in the family is not just be beat up their wife and children. Three men died shielding their girlfriends.
'Dark Knight Rises' shooting: Three heroes died in Aurora taking bullets for their girlfriends
In final acts of valor, Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves used their bodies to shield their girlfriends as accused madman James Holmes turned the Aurora cineplex into a shooting gallery.
Three survivors of the Colorado movie-theater massacre escaped with minor wounds, but were left with broken hearts because their heroic boyfriends died saving them.
In final acts of valor, Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves used their bodies to shield their girlfriends as accused madman James Holmes turned the Aurora cineplex into a shooting gallery.
Blunk’s girlfriend, Jansen Young; McQuinn’s girlfriend, Samantha Yowler; and Teves’ gal pal Amanda Lindgren made it out of the bloodbath — but they would have been killed had it not been for the loves of their lives.
“He’s a hero, and he’ll never be forgotten,” a tearful Jansen Young told the Daily News of Blunk. “Jon took a bullet for me.”
She was too distraught to speak more, but her mother called Blunk, 25, who had two young children from a previous relationship, “a gentleman.”
“He was loving, the kind of guy you want your daughter to be with, and ultimately, she’s alive because of this, because he protected her,” Shellie Young said.
She said Blunk, a security guard, had served in the Navy and had recently filled out papers to reenlist with a goal of becoming a Navy SEAL. “To her, he was a hero anyway because he wanted to serve his country,” she said of her daughter, who was left with shrapnel wounds to her side. “He said that all the time: ‘I was born to serve my country.’”
Jansen Young, 21, said Blunk took her to see Friday’s midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” to celebrate her graduation from veterinarian school. As the black-clad killer burst into the theater and unleashed tear gas and a torrent of indiscriminate gunfire, Blunk selflessly protected his girlfriend.
He pushed Jansen on the ground and under her seat, then threw his body on top of her, the mother said. “He was 6-feet-2, in incredible shape, which is why he was able to push her down under the seats of the theater,” the mother said. “He pushed her down on the floor and laid down on top of her and he died there.”
She said her daughter instantly fell in love with Blunk when they met at a local mall, where he worked as a security guard. “She just plain fell in love with his good looks,” the mother said. “She walked up and handed him a piece of paper and said, ‘Here’s my number.’”
“She just found it incredible that someone would spend eight years of their life in the Navy.”
Blunk’s estranged wife, Chantel Blunk, 26, of Reno, Nev., said he died fulfilling a lifelong dream. “He always wanted to be a superhero, he’s wanting to save someone or do something greater,” said the mother of Blunk’s kids, Hailey, 4, and Maximus, 2.
Blunk was scheduled to travel to Reno Saturday to see his children and resolve some marital issues, she said. “My daughter can’t comprehend it, and keeps wanting to call him,” said Chantel Blunk. “I try to tell her that her daddy loves her and will always be there.”
Randall Blunk, 47, of Reno, said his son had served in the Navy for more than five years, mostly aboard the Nimitz in the Persian Gulf. “He’s a badass. That’s just how he was. He’s not afraid,” Randall Blunk, who raised his son as a single father, told The News. “I love my boy, I just loved him.”
Jansen Young told her mother she could feel Blunk holding her tight as chaos reigned in the movie theater. She said she heard a woman nearby screaming, “I’ve been shot!” and recalled the “boom, boom, boom” of gunfire and smelling gunpowder.
“There was kind of a break in between each gunshot,” Jansen told the “Today” show. “Every gunshot, I was like, ‘This is it . . . I’m done for.’ Jon gave me one good push against that concrete again and then . . . I didn’t really feel his arms against my back anymore but I knew he was still there.”
When the shooting subsided, she realized Blunk was shot. “I started shaking him and saying, ‘Jon, Jon, we have to go . . . it’s time for us to get out of here,’” she said, adding that she tried to pull Blunk by the shoulder, but he didn’t move.
Equally heroic was the 24-year-old Teves, who hurled his girlfriend to the floor as bullets whizzed through the theater.
“He pushed her to the floor to save her and he ended up getting a bullet,” said his aunt, Barbara Slivinske, 57. “He was gonna hit the floor himself, but he never made it.”
Samantha Yowler had a similar story of horror and heroism about her boyfriend, Matt McQuinn, whose last living act was to shield her from death. Yowler, 26, survived with a gunshot wound to the knee and is in fair condition after undergoing surgery.
McQuinn’s family credited his quick actions for saving Samantha’s life. Witnesses said he dove on top of his girlfriend as the shooting started and that Samantha’s brother, Nick, who was also in the theater, helped get her out of harm’s way. Nick Yowler was unharmed in the shooting.
“Both the Yowler and McQuinn families thank everyone for their concerns, thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the McQuinns’ lawyer, Robert Scott, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Matt perished from the injuries he sustained during the tragic events that unfolded . . . and went home to be with his maker.”
McQuinn, 27, and Yowler met at a Target store in Springfield, Ohio, where they worked. They transferred to a Target in Aurora last November.
“He was a great outgoing person,” a co-worker at the Colorado Target told The News. “We lost a great person and we still can’t picture or realize that he’s gone.”
Co-worker Shelly Aquino said she works closely with Yowler, who was to help her open the store Saturday morning. She said she cried when she opened the store on her own. “This morning was very hard, but I need to work,” Aquino said. She said she last spoke to Yowler Thursday afternoon.
“The last hug we gave each other was on Thursday. She’s a great person, she’s very responsible ... she doesn’t hesitate to help out.”
Source: New York Daily News
Addendum: Five days after the shooting the press reported that James Holmes was the adopted son of Robert and Arlene Holmes of San Diego California.
Addendum: After a week, news that Holmes was under the care of psychiatrist Dr Lynne Fenton, an expert in schizophrenia. No word on psychiatric medicine.
Who is Dr. Lynne Fenton?
(CNN) -- Dr. Lynne Fenton, a University of Colorado psychiatrist, had Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes as a patient before last week's movie theater rampage, according to a court document filed Friday.
Her name came to light as attorneys for Holmes filed a request to have a package their client sent her handed over. They argue Holmes' communications with Fenton are protected as he was her patient.
Various attempts to contact Fenton on Friday were unsuccessful.
Fenton is the director of student mental health services at the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, and an assistant professor, according to a resume posted on the school's website.
As director, a position she's held since 2009, Fenton sees between 15 and 20 graduate students per week for medication and psychotherapy, coordinates a team of four mental health clinicians, supervises some residents who treat students, and lectures. She also serves as a psychiatrist for between five and 10 patients, the resume states.
University spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said Friday the school had no immediate comment.
Fenton has held many jobs over the years. She worked as a physician in private practice in Denver from 1994 to 2005, and was chief of physical medicine with the U.S. Air Force in San Antonio, Texas, in the early 1990s, according to the resume. Since 2008, she's won various grants and contracts to study schizophrenia.
Fenton did her undergraduate work at the University of California, Davis and earned her medical degree from Chicago Medical School in 1986.
Holmes is accused of opening fire inside a crowded midnight screening of the new Batman film last week, killing 12 people and wounding more than 50.
Addendum: Eight months after the attack, the press reports that Holmes was on psychotropic drugs. Police searching his apartment found prescription medication for sertraline, a generic version of Zoloft used to treat depression, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder; and Clonazepam, usually prescribed to treat anxiety and panic attacks.
James Holmes' psychiatrist warned he may pose threat
Unsealed documents in the Colorado theater shooting case reveal that the suspect told his university psychiatrist a month before the attack that he was having homicidal thoughts.
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — About a month before the Aurora movie theater rampage left 12 dead and at least 70 injured in July, James E. Holmes told a psychiatrist he was having homicidal thoughts and she concluded he could pose a danger to the public, according to documents released Thursday.
University of Colorado-Denver psychiatrist Dr. Lynne Fenton told a campus police officer about her concerns June 12, the day after she met with Holmes for their only session. Her fears were revealed Thursday when the new judge presiding over the case unsealed a host of search warrants and arrest documents.
Fenton also told Lynn Whitten, a campus police officer, that after she stopped seeing Holmes he "threatened and harassed her via email/text messages," the documents said.
Whitten deactivated Holmes' ID so he could not get into university classrooms and laboratories, the documents say. That appeared to contradict what university officials have said: that Holmes was not banned from the university because of a threat but because his ID was deactivated as part of the normal student withdrawal process.
It was unclear whether Aurora police knew of Holmes' threats before they interviewed Whitten on July 21, the day after the mass shooting. Holmes, now 25, is accused of opening fire during a premiere of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."
The once-promising neuroscience doctoral student at the university is charged with 166 counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder and weapons charges. He had flunked an oral exam in early June, began withdrawing from the university June 10 and met with Fenton on June 11.
Details about the case have been tightly sealed from the earliest days of the investigation. Yet on Thursday, District Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. reversed previous rulings on public access and made public the arrest affidavit and 12 search warrants.
Samour took over from Chief Judge William Sylvester on Monday after Dist. Atty. George Brauchler of Colorado's 18th Judicial District announced he would seek the death penalty.
Sylvester withdrew because of the time constraints that come with a capital punishment trial, which would leave him little time for administrative duties. Holmes' trial, initially scheduled to begin Aug. 5, has been pushed back to February at the earliest.
Holmes' attorneys are widely expected to use an insanity defense. They had offered a guilty plea in return for a life sentence without possibility of parole.
The newly unsealed documents give glimpses not only into the early hours of the investigation but into Holmes himself. A search warrant for his apartment — which had been booby-trapped, presumably to kill anyone who entered — revealed a student's life that seemed at once mundane and bent on destruction.
Along with chemicals used for explosives, rounds of ammunition, pistol cases and paper targets, police seized movie posters, video games, apartment lease papers, numerous computers, 48 containers of beer and other liquor and stacks of school textbooks. They found prescription medication for sertraline, a generic version of Zoloft used to treat depression, panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder; and Clonazepam, usually prescribed to treat anxiety and panic attacks.
And they found a Batman mask, the documents say.
Much of the information in the documents had come out at Holmes' preliminary hearing in January. Moviegoers at the Aurora theater on July 20 told police they saw a man who fit Holmes' description sit in the first row but then leave through the emergency exit before the movie started. At 12:38 a.m., an assailant burst through the emergency door, threw a canister of tear gas and began shooting.
Police have said records show Holmes went on a shopping spree that started in May, amassing semiautomatic weapons, large quantities of ammunition, military-style gear, chemicals that could be used for explosives and tear gas canisters.
The documents also shed some light on a notebook that Holmes mailed to Fenton, which was found in a university mail room after the shooting. The notebook was described in search warrants as brown with a placard on the cover that said "James Holmes." Also written on the outside of the notebook were the words, "My Life."
Police said "it appeared to be a journal," but the writings were "unknown." Tucked into the notebook were twenty $20 bills that had been burned. There was a sticky note on the outside with an infinity symbol on it.
The notebook, which is still sealed, has been a bitterly contested issue. The prosecution says it should be admitted into evidence, but the defense says it is part of doctor-patient privileged communication.
Next week the judge will continue to hear arguments on whether a FoxNews.com reporter will have to divulge her law enforcement sources who told her about the contents of the notebook despite a gag order.
Source: Los Angeles Times
Save the Economy — Steal Kids
July 21, 2012 permalink
Muskoka CAS executive director Marty Rutledge has a reason to continue supporting his agency. The $11 million a year he spends separating children from their families boosts the local economy.
District of Muskoka continues efforts to save children’s service
MUSKOKA - Increased services and cost savings are the small beginnings of a collaborated effort to keep Muskoka’s child services agency from moving out of town.
About 20 months ago, after the province began amalgamating Children’s Aid services to make them more financially sustainable, the District of Muskoka began working with Family Youth and Child Services of Muskoka to keep it alive.
Marty Rutledge, executive director of Family Youth and Child Services of Muskoka, said it’s difficult to estimate the cost savings, but the effort has increased their services.
“We now co-locate some of our services in Gravenhurst and we were looking for an opportunity to expand into Gravenhurst,” said Rutledge.
The agency is using some of the district’s excess space in Gravenhurst. It is also working together to share staff, facilities and services such as snow removal. Rutledge said he is hoping there won’t be any jobs to be cut through the collaboration.
“Our goal would be any savings that are realized would be redirected to front-line services,” he said.
At this time, the organization has 85 staff in Muskoka and puts just under $11 million revenue into the economy each year through things like payroll and benefits.
So far, the District of Muskoka has saved up to $200,000 by sharing behind-the-scenes facilities, working together on staffing issues and other back-office savings.
Rick Williams, commissioner of community services for the District of Muskoka, said he doesn’t know if Muskokans will see a change in services due to the collaboration.
“This is very much tied to the expectation that there will be funding cuts in most provincially funded services, including children’s services as well as any municipal services,” said Williams.
The agencies are waiting for a final report from the province in September before they can formalize the shared service agreement.
Though the process has taken more than a year and a half and has no specific finish line, district CAO Jim Green said it’s important to remember the larger purpose, to keep the children’s aid and children’s mental health services in Muskoka.
“If it’s been successful … in doing that, it’s probably worth continuing on, even though it’s a bit uncertain as to what the real reaping specific benefits (will be),” Green said.
Williams said as the district has watched other Children’s Aid services amalgamate or relocate their headquarters, it has seen the services decrease for rural areas.
“The new head office tends to serve all the specialized programs and the ability of the people in the outlying areas such as Muskoka to access those services is greatly reduced,” Williams said.
Under the old system, Williams said services were available three days a week. If they were amalgamated, they would only be available when someone comes from the head office about once a month.
Currently, Family Youth and Child Service of Muskoka offers crisis intervention seven days a week, regular programs throughout the day, as well as evening and weekend programs. They are also moving forward with a walk-in model for mental health services so children don’t need to wait see a trained therapist.
Green encouraged the district to continue to fight the good fight.
“We want to show that Muskoka is strong, coordinated, has accomplished hopefully some cost savings, and therefore those services are retained here as opposed to gone the route of the amalgamation that’s gone elsewhere,” said Green.
Source: Cottage Country Now
Future Emotional Abuse
July 21, 2012 permalink
British TV reports on parents fleeing through underground channels to save their children from social services. Parents remaining at home are faced with the impossible chore of proving they are not at risk for causing future emotional abuse. Ian Josephs is at the centre of a network providing transportation to safe havens abroad.
Revealed: the networks helping families flee social services
An exclusive investigation by Channel 4 News gains unprecedented access to underground networks which help families flee from social services in the UK.
The families say they are forced to flee because they will not get a fair hearing in the UK in the family courts. They turn to shadowy networks, often based online, and run by other parents, many of whom have already lost their children to the care system.
The scale and sophistication of the networks is extraordinary. We were told of safe houses across the UK where parents and their children could lie low before heading overseas, of fake birth certificates and of keys for rented homes in foreign countries that are exchanged in the middle of the night by strangers connected only by the networks.
As to the numbers involved it is impossible to verify, but we were told by one woman central to several groups that help parents get out of the country, that there has been "anything [from] 300 to 600 families in the past year that have left [the UK] from the involvement of social care".
The most popular destination is the Republic of Ireland, but the networks extend across Europe, Mediterranean countries being the other main destinations for families on the run.
From UK foster care to Cavan
We went to Cavan, a small town in the Republic of Ireland and one of the hubs for the network. There we met a mother who described a meticulously-planned snatch operation to steal her four-year-old son from foster care in the UK. At an organised contact session, she arranged an untraceable car, fake ID papers and even had a wig waiting in the car. "I knew I had to get him and get to the boat straight away. I knew that if I got caught, I would be done for kidnap," she says.
Her son had originally been put into voluntary care after she had a breakdown. She insists she got better but they refused to return him - leaving her, she says, with no choice but to run.
Having made it to Ireland she turned herself in to the authorities in the belief – shared by many in these networks – that she would get a fairer hearing from Irish social services. "They are not idiots over here but it's the way they act [and] work completely differently," she says. "They took him, completed the assessment and decided what was in my son's best interests."
For this mother that decision turned out to be that she could keep her son. Having been helped by the network herself, she in turn began to help others. This is how the networks regenerate themselves and grow.
'Punished for something that we hadn't done'
The charge levelled against the parents we spoke to was not physical or sexual abuse but emotional abuse or the risk of future emotional neglect or abuse. They say it is a charge that they cannot defend themselves against.
We met one British couple, Julie and Andy (not their real names), hiding out in a southern European country [pictured above]. The network helped them flee from the UK earlier this year when they discovered she was pregnant. They are now a couple in hiding.
Like many parents we met, their argument was that they were not given a fair hearing by a system that was too quick to remove children. Their child was removed at birth because the mother, who suffered pre-natal depression during her pregnancy, and the father, were assessed as posing a risk of future emotional neglect.
According to the couple, the local authority "just pressed the nuclear button". Talking about their daughter being placed in care they told Channel 4 News: "We hadn't hurt her. We were punished for something that we hadn't done."
While they accept the need for action in some cases they insist that parents can be accused of something that it is impossible to defend themselves against: "We recognise that that the child protection system is important but you can be convicted of the potentiality of causing harm or neglect."
They are now in hiding. "Once you've lost one you have no chance at all...after our experiences of our first child we have absolutely no confidence at all in the system."
Social services vs parents
Channel 4 News discovered an unlikely figure in an unlikely location, who is a central character in these networks. He has taken it upon himself to assist in the flight of many of these families. Sitting in Monaco, Ian Josephs [pictured left], an 80-year-old British businessman, puts it bluntly. "It's war," he says, "between parents who've had their children taken and the social workers who've taken them."
Having first come across what he sees as family courts' injustice some 30 years ago, he now helps hundreds of families each year as they fight the system to keep their children. "I get two or three new calls every single day practically," he says. "That doesn’t sound too many, but if you multiply it by 365 it comes to quite a lot."
But it is more than advice: "I'm no Bill Gates, but I do pay for pregnant women to escape the country."
He is motivated by an unshakeable belief that the system and the family courts have the wrong approach and that other countries will treat parents fighting charges of emotional neglect in an entirely different manner. "If you saw the women that I have seen whose babies have been snatched from them by truly heartless social workers who've shown no compassion, no sorrow, no pity, no words of consolation, you would think that somebody should do something about it," he says.
"Why is it happening so much in England and not in France, for example, where I live, or Monaco where I live, and not in Spain and not in Italy? It's a very British phenomena."
Who are the networks helping?
Mr Josephs and the other networks say they screen parents and do background checks into their histories before offering help. But how much can they really know about the parents and children they help flee the UK and the safeguards of the child protection system?
It all poses profound questions about who these networks are helping and whether they are not in fact putting some children in further danger. It is a view shared by Professor Corinne May-Chahal, the co-chair of the College of Social Work. "It is clearly saying that there is something very wrong with the system, if the only option people have is to run then there has to be something that needs to be looked at," she told Channel 4 News.
She adds that the potential risk to some of the children involved is of serious concern: "There are probably some very vulnerable children and how can we know they are getting the right help? It is really very worrying. If what's happening within the system is forcing parents or encouraging parents to leave then that could well be putting them in more danger."
And she says that this points to a wider issue in the system designed to protect children. "We all know the system has to change. And it’s not just social workers that need to improve - that is the key. Social work has to work within the system and it is the system that needs to change, not just one person or professional body within it."
Source: Channel 4 (UK)
Note: Our video capture software failed on this program. Viewers with better capture technology are invited to forward a copy to fixcas.
Channel 4 piece on refugees
Thanks to "liarpolicians" for the youtube recording.
if the emotional damage that is done to the child by seperating them from their family is worse than the damage that WILL be experianced by leaving them as they be, then the child should NOT BE REMOVED.
The Risk of emotional damage law they act upon is a mockary to emotional damage in itself. The law creates emotional damage and it is an insult to the complete concept and idea behind emotional damage.
Since we cannot predict other peoples future and as we see everyday, it does always suprise us of the horrors and the blessings that occur in our world. The suprisers and the predictions.
With the unpredictability of human nature, nature itself and our complete life and existance. We cannot base such a drastic decission as to seperate a child from their family with the "Risk" of emotional damage. Only if this is a probable risk proven by facts. Not just a feared one by unpredictable/emotional/individual humans.
We do not understand everyones lives and it is impossible to assume that the small amount of time spent with families can determine the potential emotional risk that could occur. Unless there are clear facts.
Keeping the child with the family is +90% of the time going to cause the least emotional damage. This really does need to be understood and for people to make choices based on their hearts.
Also peoples different ideas and personal preference in bringing up their child needs to be valued and respected.
If the social services does fear risk of emotional damage then they should watch the family closely and give them much "help and support". to illiminate all risks and to give best advice.
Everyone has there bad times in life and we cannot seperate a child from their families everytime there is problems within the families.
The wise will just stay away frrom the system and the naive will get affected.
The naive should be educated and the real bad parents should be seaked out and looked for, while the good and morral families should be given much help and support, some trust and the basic benefit of the doubt. Given some respect that they have happy, healthy children now and there is no reason that this will not continue as it is .. unless worste case scenario does occur . however this scenario may never occur and could just be the fear of the social worker.
Different personalities and people will view every event from their own unique stand point. Alot of these people may not understand them selves what a real loving family is.
Respect should be given to law abiding people and help and support should be offered and maybe insisted upon if necessary. but children should not be seperated unless their is evidence that any damage will deffinetly occur if the child is left with its family. Not that there is a risk it will occur. There is always going to be a risk of emotional damage within every family. As life is unpredictable to the naked eye.
A Government cannot expect a rational and humane society when it is not a rational and humane government. The Government sets the example of what is sociably accepted, and within my situation I have experienced first hand for a year and a half the lack of love and care for the children by the social services. They are robotic and it is not realistic human behaviour. They are a unique group and they are mostly very disturbed people!!! Yet these disturbed people get to make huge choices on our families... it is true that I can see a lot of these social services are very egotistical. They have little experiance in life and with family... their family was not particularly loving. I can see they must not of recieved much love themselves or they would value that love and value it within the families they deal with.
Source: John Hemming blog
Youth Leaving Care on Talk Local
July 20, 2012 permalink
Earlier this month Rogers showed a program Talk Local on the subject of Youth Leaving Care. Host Hayley Zimak interviewed executive director Alison Scott, caseworker Vickie Straicher and former foster children Jessica Del Rosso and Brandon Eaket. Interspersed are a report by videographer Sarah Monette presenting Family and Children's Services spokesman Sarah Murphy and the Youth Leaving Care video.
Alison Scott speaks entirely in the language of beneficence. We want to extend help to foster children until age 25. Alison says: "What you really want to have is opportunities for kids not to come into care at all, and for most kids to be raised in their own families with their own supports". This is an example of what we call public/private dichotomy — saying the opposite in public of actions taken in private. Court actions are hidden behind confidentiality, but an earlier news item disclosed that Waterloo FACS was the Central-West Region litigation champion. Litigation for CAS means separating children from their real families.
Alison mentions that Waterloo FACS has an affiliated foundation that has given 200 scholarships since its inception to crown wards for post-secondary education, 36 this year. What she leaves out is the size of those scholarships. While the amounts for Waterloo are not disclosed, other CAS bursaries have been at a daily rate of $1.36, $6.85 and $1.37.
In the final interview, Jessica wants to become a social worker for children's aid, then help gay and lesbian youth. The way she left her mother suggests that she is a lesbian herself. It sounds like she is already working for CAS part-time. Brandon wants to become a policeman. He calls the youth in the Youth Leaving Care video "one-in-a-million exceptions". Most are not nearly so successful.
A thought on the real motive for the push to extend care for foster youth. Of the money appropriated by the legislature for foster care, only a bit over a third gets to the foster parents, the CAS bureaucracy consumes the rest. The program mentions a number of programs and subsidies currently in place for young adults. As things stand now, when the young people apply for them, they receive support without intermediation. With extension of foster care to age 25, CAS may skim off their two thirds before their beneficiary gets a dime. A second thought. For girls, 18-25 are the prime child-bearing years. Keeping these girls under control to age 25 will facilitate acquiring the next generation of foster kids.
Since facts are hard to come by from CAS, here are some factual disclosures about Waterloo FACS by Mrs Scott:
Get more of the CAS side at Family and Children's Services of the Waterloo Region.
For contrast, fixcas offers this video of a Youth Entering Care (flv). There is only a local copy because it got kicked off YouTube.
Kelly Pflug-Back Sentenced
July 19, 2012 permalink
Addendum: Convicted Black Bloc vandal Kelly Pflug-Back has been sentenced. At the time of the G20 summit Kelly spoke out in an interview criticizing children's aid. The National Post article includes a picture of her smashing a police car during that event. This is the kind of opposition least likely to lead to positive reform.
G20 protester Kelly Pflug-Back gets 15 months in prison for smashing police cars, store windows
A protester using Black Bloc tactics who smashed police cars and store windows during Toronto G20 protests two years ago has been sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Kelly Pflug-Back, 23, received four months credit for pretrial custody and restrictive bail, leaving her 11 months to serve.
“Society’s abhorrence for those employing the Black Bloc tactic is clear… The message of this court must be clear,” Justice John McMahon said Thursday in passing sentence.
Pflug-Back was convicted of seven counts of mischief and one of wearing a disguise during the 2010 summit protests, where she aligned herself with a group of black-clad vandals who rampaged through the downtown core. The court has heard Pflug-Back guided other protesters as she stormed through the streets, attacking police cars and bashing store signs and windows.
Crown attorney Elizabeth Nadeau, who had requested a sentence of 18 to 24 months, said the city was “horrified and overwhelmed” by the brazen crimes, which “likened the downtown core to a war zone.”
But Pflug-Back’s lawyer had asked for a conditional sentence in lieu of jail time, attempting to distance his client from the more destructive aims of some other protesters using Black Bloc tactics and playing up her broader interests in social justice.
Source: National Post
July 19, 2012 permalink
Former case worker Karen Stephenson reports on abuse and neglect inside foster homes. Three middle-aged women used a foster boy during his pre-teen and teenaged years as their sex-toy. In another case Karen's boss concealed a foster boy's history of hurting animals, then she placed the boy in a home with dozens of animals.
Karen Stephenson It is sad but yes, women as well as men, can be just as rotten. I once case managed foster homes for troubled adolescents and there was a 15 year old male in care (I'll call him Jim); his mother allowed her best friend (a female) to use Jim as she pleased when he was latency aged as a way to pay back for money owed. Absolutely heinous what Jim had to do. Anyway, as a teen in care the sad cycle somewhat continued. Jim would "do" 40 year old women and in return got cigarettes, booze and pot. There were 3 women who were Jim's "friends" - - and at that time, the FACS Niagara worker I had to deal with did nothing.
Source: Facebook, Friends of Protection for Men
Hi Chris.. I posted it at Friends of Protection of Men, a group here at FB. I must make one correction that Attila has misinterpreted... I was a case manager for an OPR (outside placement resource) that was based in Burlington but actually operated out of Barrie. They operated adolescent treatment homes in Simcoe, Hamilton/Wentworth, Halton and York Region. I case managed homes in York Region. The youth was placed in one of our homes in Keswick by FACS Niagara. "Jim" was such a troubled young man and I truly fear where he is nowadays. I can only hope someone has helped to guide him the right way.
I worked for this OPR from 2002 until 2007 and "Jim" had these crimes happen to him prior to coming into care which would have been mid-late 1990's when he was assaulted - on several occasions by his mother's friend. As for these 40 year old women taking advantage of him - that was in 2003 when I found out.
No worries Attila! There are so many other situations too that are so wrong on every level. The one I'll share is that my boss did not care what child was placed where... it was all about $$. The best example of this was a boy from Haldimand-Norfolk CAS.... NO ONE told me about his history (my boss had the papers and he knew) ... and this (I think he was 14 or 15) boy liked to hurt animals. He was placed in one of my homes in which there are dozens of animals. Well holy crap .. I called the Haldimand worker and said he is OUT . . he told me not to go alone to tell the boy this news as he is dangerous. It gets better... the male worker arrived with me and stood on the driveway (this was a home in the country) as I told him.... just brilliant.
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
July 18, 2012 permalink
The Children's Aid Society of Kingston is misrepresenting itself as part of the Ontario government. It is actually incorporated as a private charity under the Corporations Act. A victim of the misrepresentation reports her experience.
Sara Perry I was left a message from Canpar yesterday that they have a package from the Ontario government for me and will reattempt to deliver today. I received the package. I see it is from the Kingston CAS. I questioned the driver as to why he had indicated the package was from the Ontario Government when that was not the case. He informed me that all numbers on the packages that start with 556 have to be identified as from the Ontario Government. They have all been instructed by head office that they are to tell the customer the package is coming from the Ontario Government. The bar code on my package starts with D556. How is it the Kingston CAS is allowed to use that code on packages they send out when they are not the Ontario government. They are in essence misrepresenting themselves with a twist. No where on their label do they identify themselves as the Ontario Government. Instead they have Canpar misrepresenting them on their behalf as the Ontario Government. What is the penalty when a private organization instructs couriers to identify their documents as coming from the Ontario Government?
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
July 17, 2012 permalink
A hearing is under way in Winnipeg to determine the fate of Lori Douglas, a judge who has caused a scandal because pictures of her in erotic poses were posted to the internet.
About a dozen of the nude pictures were widely available on the internet a year ago, as of this posting a few can still be found easily.
Lori Douglas employed one of Canada's top law firms, Torys LLP, to ask fixcas to remove our set of Lori Douglas nude photos. We presume the relative paucity of those pictures on the internet today is the result of Torys' efforts. Here are two threats from Molly Reynolds of Torys, June 13 and June 21, both in 2012 (pdf). What's wrong with these threats? Since a website with no revenue stream can hardly justify the expense of defending against judge Douglas's legal juggernaut, the pictures were removed before either of the written legal threats were issued. Courts occasionally treat unfounded legal threats such as these as an actionable form of harassment.
When the scandal first broke, fixcas defended Lori Douglas as a victim. Our opinion changed quickly when she used the powers of her office to attempt to seize copies of the offending images. She has continued with more of the same, including the redundant threats addressed to fixcas and Robert T McQuaid. The public grants enormous powers to judges so that they can administer the law on behalf of the entire community and provide vital services, such as keeping the peace. Those powers are not granted so that judges can use them for their private purposes. Judge Douglas has put herself in the same position as a policeman who uses his gun for stick-ups. She is unfit to exercise the powers of a judge. Not for sex, something that interests every normal person, but for the way she uses her powers.
A news article by Christie Blatchford gives the current state of this proceeding.
Blatchford: Despite attempts at propriety, little can hide tawdry nature of Manitoba judge's sex trial
WINNIPEG — At the request of the inquiry chair, independent counsel Kirsten Crain, one of two prosecutorial equivalents in the curious proceeding unfolding at the Federal Court building here, very delicately fetched a blank sheet of white paper and handed it to the man in the witness box.
Alex Chapman was to use it, please, as a cover sheet as he flipped through 35 pages of sexually explicit photographs of a Manitoba Queen's Bench judge.
By then, of course, Chapman had already zipped past the first couple of pages, briefly exposing parts of the offending pictures, and the lady in them, to the public gallery.
And in any case, these same photographs, or some of them, were and apparently are still available on the web — indeed, the fact they were and are forms one of the complaints in the case — so the horse had long ago bolted the barn on this one.
Yet when it came time to make the photos exhibits, the committee nonetheless had them labelled as confidential, as ineffective and ostentatious a bit of window dressing as there could possibly be.
As a metaphor for the Canadian Judicial Council hearing itself, the committee's handling of explicit intimate photos of a fellow judge is not half-bad: The entire business is as salacious as hell and everyone knows it, but it has been gussied up as a woeful necessity worthy of grave mien and serious affect.
The five-member committee is probing the conduct of Manitoba Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas.
She faces four allegations — the most serious that she knowingly participated in the plan of lawyer husband Jack King to entice Chapman, his former client, into having sex with her or them — any one of which could see her deemed unfit and removed from the bench.
In 2003, King, then apparently in mid-mental breakdown, posted the intimate pictures on the Dark Cavern website, which caters to white couples looking for black male partners.
He has admitted doing this, and to sexually harassing Chapman, who is black, but has always maintained he did it all without Judge Douglas' knowledge and that it was a grotesque betrayal. And at the time, King paid Chapman $25,000 for his silence and to return the pictures and emails he'd sent him, a deal Chapman reneged on seven years later, when it appears he'd decided another judge, in another of his court matters, was being influenced by Douglas, and went to the CJC and the CBC.
Indeed, Chapman himself Monday acknowledged that he had no direct personal knowledge, even from King in full fantastical flight, that Douglas ever knew what her husband was up to.
But, he said, and he said it a number of ways a number of times, "the impression I got was that him and his wife are into this crazy sex stuff but he want to go further . . . all these pictures, she's posing for them, with all these labels, labels like 'waiting for black c--k' . . . He didn't tell me she knew the pictures were on the Internet, but they had a splash page on the website, they were married 25 years or whatever . . .
"But that's just my opinion," Chapman said. Suffice to say, he was happy to give his opinion, and volunteered it frequently.
He maintained that King — who had represented him in his divorce, the case just wrapping up when the weird overtures began — was a magnetic bully who was controlling him, and whom he feared.
He agreed that when King suggested he check out the Dark Cavern website, or talked about how he was trying to persuade his wife to be more sexually adventurous, or sent him explicit pictures — tried essentially to pimp Douglas out to Chapman — he never explicitly told him he wasn't interested.
He was disgusted by the pictures, Chapman said, repelled. He wondered if King wasn't trying to set him up; after all, he was then suing the Winnipeg Police and he figured maybe the cops were behind it. King "got into my head" and he hated it.
"It was so scary," Chapman said once. "I never told him no because he had control over me."
A tentative settlement agreement in his divorce had been reached, he said, admitting King had done well for him, and he figured if he could "just hang on for a couple of weeks," he'd have the divorce. As he put it once, "I wanted him (King) to believe I was interested, but I wasn't interested."
At least once, when he talked about King's Svengali-like hold on him, Chapman grew teary. He was at the lowest point of his life — his marriage was over, he was out of his house, his lawyer was harassing him — and he was afraid, he said. He even considered that perhaps "people were going to try to kill me. I was paranoid. My skin is black and I'm in a society where minorities don't get favours, you know."
Yet in the witness stand, he was occasionally bellicose, and often aggressively confident.
When Crain was taking him through his datebook for 2003, and pointing out how some of the entries reporting meetings or conversations with King were in black ink while the rest of the notes on the pages were in blue, she repeatedly suggested Chapman had added the damaging notes at a later time.
He at first appeared not to understand the inference, and kept answering that he had pens of many colours on his desk.
But when the penny dropped at last, he snapped, "If you don't believe me, let's all go take a polygraph test because I don't like this witch hunt."
Several times, when Crain pressed him, he launched into unrelated lurid descriptions of what King had posted on the Dark Cavern sites, at one point saying of Douglas, "She's not even my type anyway. She was this hairy woman. I'm sorry, but she was." At another juncture, Chapman snapped, "I mean, come on! She (Douglas) had to, ought to, have known. Back then, I didn't know my rights. I thought my lawyer was to protect my interest. He raped my mind, basically."
The evidence has just begun to be heard, but it is hard to imagine that all it took to kick-start this entire process was for this strange man to shout, "J'accuse!"
Source: Montreal Gazette
Addendum: As of November 2012 naked pictures of Lori Douglas are returning to the internet. For example, Lori Douglas "Defense" is a Disgrace. To reduce the threat of litigation, fixcas is posting only the link, not copying the actual picture. There are many more copies of her photos, many on Chinese language websites.
Addendum: As of July 2013 the judge is collecting $250,000 per year and the hearings are on hold, possibly forever.
Disciplinary hearing on hold after Federal Court ruling
Justice issues warning to Harper government
BURIED in Friday's Federal Court order is a terse challenge to the Harper government: Speak up on the Lori Douglas case.
Federal Attorney General Rob Nicholson is the respondent in Federal Court matters related to Douglas's disciplinary hearing. When the judicial review begins, it will be the attorney general who will argue the Canadian Judicial Council's process has been fair and unbiased.
But, in the preliminary matters before the Federal Court, including Douglas's application to put the disciplinary hearing on hold, Ottawa has maintained an "overwhelming silence," Federal Court Justice Judith Snider wrote Friday.
That better not be a pattern that carries on into the judicial review itself, she warned.
"Indeed, I would view such an abdication as irresponsible, totally contrary to the public interest and close to contemptuous of this court," Snider wrote.
The disciplinary hearing into the conduct of Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice Lori Douglas is on hold, maybe forever.
The hearing, which gripped the province's legal community last summer thanks to its titillating details, may not resume for months or years, if ever, pending the outcome of a judicial review. It's possible the matter will end up before the Supreme Court of Canada.
A Federal Court judge ruled Friday continuing the highly charged disciplinary hearings into Douglas's conduct would compound the irreparable harm to her reputation and career.
Friday's ruling, seen as a victory for Douglas, inches the tortuous matter forward, paving the way for a full judicial review of the disciplinary hearing, which is on hold.
Douglas has alleged the hearing by a Canadian Judicial Council panel is biased because the panel allowed improper and adversarial cross-examination of her husband, lawyer Jack King, which revealed private details about their sex life. Douglas is also alleging bias because the CJC's panel refused to allow Douglas's lawyer to cross-examine complainant Alex Chapman about his credibility.
Three years ago, when the scandal first erupted, Chapman filed a complaint with the CJC accusing Douglas of sexual harassment. Chapman alleged King sent him nude photos of Douglas and wanted Chapman to have sex with her. At the time, King was representing Chapman in a divorce case. King has admitted to giving Chapman sexually explicit photographs of his wife that were posted on the Internet, all without his wife's consent, and to paying Chapman $25,000 to settle the complaint.
University of Manitoba law Prof. Karen Busby did not want to prejudge the outcome of the upcoming judicial review but said there is merit in Douglas's claim the CJC's panel is biased.
"Allegations of bias are easy to make but hard to prove and rarely successful," she said. "There is a strong case for bias here."
And, given that it's taken a year to settle the preliminary matters, she said it could be six to nine months at best before the review is held and a decision emerges.
It's possible -- some say even likely -- the judicial review will spawn further appeals, possibly all the way to the Supreme Court.
It's also possible the judicial review will call a permanent halt to the CJC's disciplinary hearing.
Staff at the CJC are more optimistic about a speedy outcome, saying they are hopeful the judicial review will be concluded in time for the disciplinary hearing to resume as planned this fall.
"I am more optimistic than others," said Norman Sabourin, the CJC's executive director and senior general counsel. "To the extent I have anything to do with it, things are going to move quickly."
He said he also believes a judicial review will confirm the disciplinary panel has acted without bias.
"I'm confident that the council has a process that is fair and will withstand scrutiny," said Sabourin.
Also Friday, the Federal Court refused to grant intervenor status in the judicial review to the CJC's disciplinary panel. It also refused to expand the intervenor role granted to the independent counsel in the case.
It's possible those orders could spark appeals, further delaying the judicial review.
Douglas has been on paid leave from the bench since 2010, pending the outcome of the inquiry.
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
Addendum: Efforts to avoid a hearing have failed as of November 2014.
Manitoba judge who had nude photos posted online loses bid to end disciplinary hearing
WINNIPEG — A Manitoba judge whose nude pictures were posted online has lost a bid to quash a disciplinary hearing that could result in her removal from the bench.
A panel of judges appointed by the Canadian Judicial Council has dismissed a motion from the lawyer for Associate Chief Justice Lori Douglas to throw the case out. Sheila Block compared Douglas to celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence or Scarlett Johansson, whose nude photos were hacked, or to a rape victim who is subsequently shunned.
Block argued the panel shouldn’t put Douglas through more trauma because she was a victim of cyber sexual assault.
The panel rejected Block’s argument, along with one that suggested they shouldn’t see the racy photos because that would violate Douglas’s privacy.
The panel is expected to post written reasons for its decision within days.
“We will deal with the pictures, the photographs, at the beginning of the hearing on Nov. 24,” chair Francois Rolland told a hearing into the matter last week, according to transcripts posted on the council’s website.
The panel is reserving its decision on whether to dismiss the allegation that Douglas altered her personal diary when she discovered the council investigation into her conduct, Rolland said.
“We’re going to do our best to render our decision as quickly as possible,” he said. “It’s going to be done very, very soon.”
The disciplinary panel is examining whether the photos are “inherently contrary to the image and concept of integrity” of the judiciary and undermine public confidence in the justice system.
The panel is also looking into whether Douglas disclosed the existence of the photos before she was appointed to the bench in 2005.
Douglas’s late husband, lawyer Jack King, posted the intimate photos of his wife online over a decade ago and showed them to a client, Alexander Chapman, to try to entice him to have sex with her. Chapman later alleged the behaviour was sexual harassment.
He was paid $25,000 to destroy the photos and drop the complaint. But he held on to copies and made them public in 2010.
Douglas and King always said she had no part in King’s actions, which he later described as “bizarre, ridiculous, stupid, self-indulgent, grotesque.” King died of cancer last spring and Douglas has been on paid leave since 2010.
A previous panel that was investigating Douglas only heard a few days of testimony and got bogged down in technical arguments. Its members resigned en masse following allegations that the proceeding was biased against Douglas and three new people were appointed.
Block had urged the new panel not to go ahead with another evidentiary hearing, which she said runs counter to a bill on the verge of becoming law. The bill before Parliament would make it criminal to distribute or publish intimate photos of someone without his or her consent.
Photos taken of marital sex don’t throw the justice system into disrepute, but continuing to prosecute the woman who never consented to making them public does, Block suggested.
Independent counsel Suzanne Cote argued the case should be investigated “on its merits.” She said there is plenty of evidence to warrant a hearing and judges are held to a higher standard than their fellow citizens.
Perfectly worthy candidates may be rejected because of an element in their past, she said. Cote also disputed that committee members who vetted Douglas’s application knew about the photos, saying they “almost fell from their chairs” when the nude photos were made public.
The panel is expected to reconvene in Winnipeg at the end of November.
Source: National Post
Addendum: The judge has agreed to resign.
Judge Lori Douglas's offer to retire early accepted by judicial panel
Nude photos of Manitoba judge appeared on internet
A Canadian Judicial Council panel has accepted an offer from Lori Douglas, a senior Manitoba judge, to retire early in exchange for avoiding a hearing on whether she should be kicked off the bench over nude photos of her that appeared on the internet.
The decision by the three-person panel hearing Douglas's case was announced Monday afternoon in Winnipeg.
Douglas's lawyer, Sheila Block, said the agreement was struck with the council to stay the proceedings in return for the judge's offer to retire in May 2015.
In accepting Douglas's offer, the panel said it was unrealistic to expect a conclusion to her case before then.
As a result of the settlement, the hearings are adjourned until May 2015. Assuming that the conditions of the deal are met and Douglas retires, the hearings will formally conclude.
Douglas faces allegations that she failed to disclose the photos when she applied to become a judge in 2004 and that the pictures could undermine public confidence in the justice system.
The panel had set aside 10 days for the hearing, which was expected to receive testimony from 23 witnesses. Douglas's lawyers had fought for a ban on the graphic sex photographs during the hearing.
Photos posted without permission
The complaint against Douglas, an associate chief justice, arose after her now-late husband, Jack King, took graphic photos of her — some of which depict bondage — and posted them on an internet site without her knowledge or permission in 2003.
Douglas faces allegations that she failed to disclose the photos when she applied to become a judge in 2004 and that the pictures could undermine public confidence in the justice system.
The panel had set aside 10 days for the hearing, which was expected to receive testimony from 23 witnesses. Douglas's lawyers had fought for a ban on the use of graphic sex photographs during the hearing.
Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley ruled in their favour on Friday, raising questions about how the hearing would proceed without photos central to the allegations against her.
Statement from Lori Douglas's lawyer
The following is the statement read by Sheila Block to the CJC panel:
Rising to ask you to stay this hearing so that a settlement agreed to by the Canadian judicial Council with ACJ Lori Douglas can bring an end to the proceedings and all the many court related processes that are ongoing or will arise if the matter continues.
Here are the terms of the settlement the two parties, CJC and ACJ Douglas, have agreed upon [for] the cessation of the hearing by way of a stay. ACJ Douglas will submit her notice electing early retirement as of May 21, 2015. It is signed and in the hands of the committee for judicial affairs and will be sent to the minister immediately on the settlement. ACJ Douglas will be given back by the CJC all the photos it possessed and distributed to anyone through the CJC so she may destroy them.
CJC states it respects her decision to elect early retirement. CJC will respect this committee's decision to stay the proceedings to facilitate the resolution. The CJC states that there is no public interest in further expanding public funds for ongoing proceedings when the judge is retiring in that time frame. It also agrees there is no public interest in pursuing the various options before the federal courts and ACJ Douglas agrees as does the CJC to discontinue these various actions once the retirement takes effect and no further funds or judicial resources will be expensed in the meantime.
The CJC states that no conclusions should be drawn about the merits of the allegations against ACJ Douglas or about the merits of any of the issues before the courts. When the CJC says it respects ACJ Douglas' decision to elect to retire it has been advised of her reasons. For her part in the trauma of the past four years has taken a grave toll on her, on her family, those who have stood by her.
On a personal level she has been devastated by the death of her mother and her husband during this. Even though she loved being a judge and considered it an honour and privilege to serve she is at the point where this is the best choice for her, for her son and elderly father, for her late husband's children and the rest of her family.
To withstand more weeks of hearing into intensely private matters and risk the viewing of her intimate images by colleagues and others is more than she can bear. So she is voluntarily giving up her constitutionally secure tenure at her right to use this process to fight for that and for her vindication in the process. It is common ground that the proceedings before the courts which are connected to this case will not be completed by the early retirement date and accordingly a great deal of public resources both funds and judicial resources will be saved in the public interest by this consentual resolution with the CJC.
The CJC in assessing this resolution and agreed to it is of course regulated required to act in the public interest that is its mandate both the CJC and the judge agree this should be resolved and that this resolution is in the public interest.
Single Motherhood — FAIL
July 16, 2012 permalink
One of America's opinion leaders, the New York Times, reports on single motherhood, contrasting struggling single mother Jessica Schairer with her married counterpart Chris Faulkner. Marriage is now much more prevalent among the economically successful than in low-income households.
The politically-correct New York Times sidesteps the reasons for the disparity, making only vague references to social trends and filling the gaps with class hatred. But fixcas has found enormous pressure to break up families from social services, what we call a shotgun divorce. This pressure is rarely applied to the most economically successful. Instead social services prey selectively on the most vulnerable, those near the bottom of the income scale. In the NY Times story, Jessica Schairer formed a relationship with a man who became a step father to her children. It ended in six months. Quoting from the story: "it took a call to the police to get him to go". Was this man a monster, or was the power of the state used to deprive children of a stepfather? The Times is silent on this question.
Two Classes, Divided by ‘I Do’
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Jessica Schairer has so much in common with her boss, Chris Faulkner, that a visitor to the day care center they run might get them confused.
They are both friendly white women from modest Midwestern backgrounds who left for college with conventional hopes of marriage, motherhood and career. They both have children in elementary school. They pass their days in similar ways: juggling toddlers, coaching teachers and swapping small secrets that mark them as friends. They even got tattoos together. Though Ms. Faulkner, as the boss, earns more money, the difference is a gap, not a chasm.
But a friendship that evokes parity by day becomes a study of inequality at night and a testament to the way family structure deepens class divides. Ms. Faulkner is married and living on two paychecks, while Ms. Schairer is raising her children by herself. That gives the Faulkner family a profound advantage in income and nurturing time, and makes their children statistically more likely to finish college, find good jobs and form stable marriages.
Ms. Faulkner goes home to a trim subdivision and weekends crowded with children’s events. Ms. Schairer’s rent consumes more than half her income, and she scrapes by on food stamps.
“I see Chris’s kids — they’re in swimming and karate and baseball and Boy Scouts, and it seems like it’s always her or her husband who’s able to make it there,” Ms. Schairer said. “That’s something I wish I could do for my kids. But number one, that stuff costs a lot of money and, two, I just don’t have the time.”
The economic storms of recent years have raised concerns about growing inequality and questions about a core national faith, that even Americans of humble backgrounds have a good chance of getting ahead. Most of the discussion has focused on labor market forces like falling blue-collar wages and lavish Wall Street pay.
But striking changes in family structure have also broadened income gaps and posed new barriers to upward mobility. College-educated Americans like the Faulkners are increasingly likely to marry one another, compounding their growing advantages in pay. Less-educated women like Ms. Schairer, who left college without finishing her degree, are growing less likely to marry at all, raising children on pinched paychecks that come in ones, not twos.
Estimates vary widely, but scholars have said that changes in marriage patterns — as opposed to changes in individual earnings — may account for as much as 40 percent of the growth in certain measures of inequality. Long a nation of economic extremes, the United States is also becoming a society of family haves and family have-nots, with marriage and its rewards evermore confined to the fortunate classes.
“It is the privileged Americans who are marrying, and marrying helps them stay privileged,” said Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University.
About 41 percent of births in the United States occur outside marriage, up sharply from 17 percent three decades ago. But equally sharp are the educational divides, according to an analysis by Child Trends, a Washington research group. Less than 10 percent of the births to college-educated women occur outside marriage, while for women with high school degrees or less the figure is nearly 60 percent.
Long concentrated among minorities, motherhood outside marriage now varies by class about as much as it does by race. It is growing fastest in the lower reaches of the white middle class — among women like Ms. Schairer who have some postsecondary schooling but no four-year degree.
While many children of single mothers flourish (two of the last three presidents had mothers who were single during part of their childhood), a large body of research shows that they are more likely than similar children with married parents to experience childhood poverty, act up in class, become teenage parents and drop out of school.
Sara McLanahan, a Princeton sociologist, warns that family structure increasingly consigns children to “diverging destinies.”
Married couples are having children later than they used to, divorcing less and investing heavily in parenting time. By contrast, a growing share of single mothers have never married, and many have children with more than one man.
“The people with more education tend to have stable family structures with committed, involved fathers,” Ms. McLanahan said. “The people with less education are more likely to have complex, unstable situations involving men who come and go.”
She said, “I think this process is creating greater gaps in these children’s life chances.”
Ms. Schairer’s life offers a vivid example of how rapidly norms have changed. She grew up in a small town outside Ann Arbor, where her life revolved around church and school and everyone she knew was married.
“I thought, ‘I’ll meet someone, and we’ll marry and have kids and the house and the white picket fence,’ ” she said. “That’s what I wanted. That’s what I still want.”
She got pregnant during her first year of college, left school and stayed in a troubled relationship that left her with three children when it finally collapsed six years ago. She has had little contact with the children’s father and receives no child support. With an annual income of just under $25,000, Ms. Schairer barely lifts her children out of poverty, but she is not one to complain. “I’m in this position because of decisions I made,” she said.
She buys generic cereal at about half the brand-name price, takes the children to church every week and posts their happy moments on her Facebook page. Inequality is a word she rarely uses, though her family life is a showcase of its broadening reach.
“Two incomes would certainly help with the bills,” she said. “But it’s parenting, too. I wish I could say, ‘Call your dad.’ ”
Path to Single Motherhood
The van with the cracked windshield arrived on a recent day at 7:30 a.m., and three people emerged, the smallest stifling yawns. Several days a week, Ms. Schairer opens the child care center 45 minutes before she can send her two youngest children to school. Bored children in work spaces make mornings tense.
Savannah, 7, crossed the play area on stilts. Steavon, 10, threw a ball. As parents with infants and toddlers hurried past, Ms. Schairer chided the two to stay out of the way. “They’re really not supposed to be here,” she said.
Steavon has Asperger syndrome, a mild form of autism that can lead to sharp mood swings. He slumped on her desk, wanting $2 to buy a bagel at school. Ms. Schairer does not carry cash — one way not to spend it — and handed him pretzels from home. “I don’t like those!” he said, shoving them away.
Ms. Schairer is known for a spotless desk. Steavon found a leaky pen.
“I’m ready for you to go,” she said.
Time away is money lost — Ms. Schairer punched a clock by the door — so she hurried the children to school and returned with a look of relief. A stop in Ms. Faulkner’s office brought a bit of rejuvenating gossip: two teachers were having a tiff. Adult diversions are absent at home.
“I talk to myself a lot,” Ms. Schairer said.
Although she grew up in the 1990s, Ms. Schairer’s small-town childhood had a 1950s feel. Her father drove a beer truck, her mother served as church trustee and her grandparents lived next door. She knew no one rich, no one poor and no one raising children outside of marriage. “It was just the way it was,” she said.
William Penn University, eight hours away in Iowa, offered a taste of independence and a spot on the basketball team. Her first thought when she got pregnant was “My mother’s going to kill me.” Abortion crossed her mind, but her boyfriend, an African-American student from Arkansas, said they should start a family. They agreed that marriage should wait until they could afford a big reception and a long gown.
Their odds were not particularly good: nearly half the unmarried parents living together at a child’s birth split up within five years, according to Child Trends.
Ms. Schairer has trouble explaining, even to herself, why she stayed so long with a man who she said earned little, berated her often and did no parenting. They lived with family (his and hers) and worked off and on while she hoped things would change. “I wanted him to love me,” she said. She was 25 when the breakup made it official: she was raising three children on her own.
She had just answered an ad from a child care center that needed a teacher’s assistant. Ms. Faulkner hired her and promoted her twice, most recently to assistant director.
“She was always stepping out of the classroom and helping,” Ms. Faulkner said. “She just had that drive, that leader in her. I trust her completely.”
Ms. Schairer took night classes and earned a degree from Washtenaw Community College. A supervisor from the corporate office wrote, “We are so lucky to have you.” Still, after nearly six years, she remains an hourly employee making $12.35 an hour, simultaneously in management and on food stamps.
After Ms. Schairer had an operation for cervical cancer last summer, the surgeon told her to take six weeks off. She went back to work five weeks early, with a rare flash of class anger. “It’s easy when you make $500 an hour to stand there and tell me to take six weeks off,” she said. “I can’t have six weeks with no pay.”
A Broadening Gap
Despite the egalitarian trappings of her youth, Ms. Schairer was born (in 1981) as a tidal surge of inequality was remaking American life. Incomes at the top soared, progress in the middle stalled and the paychecks of the poor fell sharply.
Four decades ago, households with children at the 90th percentile of incomes received five times as much as those at the 10th percentile, according to Bruce Western and Tracey Shollenberger of the Harvard sociology department. Now they have 10 times as much. The gaps have widened even more higher up the income scale.
The reasons are manifold: the growing premium a college education commands, technological change that favors mind over muscle, the growth of the financial sector, the loss of manufacturing jobs to automation and foreign competitors, and the decline of labor unions.
But marriage also shapes the story in complex ways. Economic woes speed marital decline, as women see fewer “marriageable men.” The opposite also holds true: marital decline compounds economic woes, since it leaves the needy to struggle alone.
“The people who need to stick together for economic reasons don’t,” said Christopher Jencks, a Harvard sociologist. “And the people who least need to stick together do.”
Changes in family structure do not explain the gains of the very rich — the much-discussed “1 percent” and the richest among them. That story largely spills from Wall Street trading floors and corporate boardrooms.
But for inequality more broadly, Mr. Western found that the growth in single parenthood in recent decades accounted for 15 percent to 25 percent of the widening income gaps. (Estimates depend on the time period, the income tiers and the definition of inequality.) Gary Burtless of the Brookings Institution found it to account for 21 percent. Robert Lerman of the Urban Institute, comparing lower-middle- and upper-middle-income families, found that single parenthood explained about 40 percent of inequality’s growth. “That’s not peanuts,” he said.
Across Middle America, single motherhood has moved from an anomaly to a norm with head-turning speed. (That change received a burst of attention this year with the publication of Charles Murray’s new book, “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010,” which attributed the decline of marriage to the erosion of values, rather than the decline of economic opportunity.)
As recently as 1990, just 10 percent of the births to women like Ms. Schairer (white women with some postsecondary schooling but not a full college degree) occurred outside marriage, according to Child Trends. Now it has tripled to 30 percent, compared with just 8 percent for women of all races with college degrees.
Less-educated women are also more likely to have children with more than one man. Analyzing nearly 2,000 mothers in their mid- to late 20s, Child Trends found that a third of those with high school degrees or less already had children with multiple men. So did 12 percent of mothers with some post-high-school training. But none of the women in the study who had finished college before giving birth had children with multiple men.
“That’s a dramatic difference, and it varies by education more than by race,” said Mindy Scott, a Child Trends demographer. “It tells you these families are on different trajectories. Having men in the house for a short time with ambiguous parenting roles can be really disruptive for children.”
Ms. Schairer did not have a child with another man, but she did find a new boyfriend, who she thought would help with the children and the bills. They dated for a year before he moved in. Kirsten, 11, and Savannah liked him fine, but Steavon adored him.
“I’m not the only boy anymore; we’re going to do boy stuff!” Ms. Schairer recounts him saying.
“What’s boy stuff?” she asked.
“We’re going to play video games and shoot Nerf guns and play Legos,” he said.
“We do that now,” she said.
“Yeah, but you’re not a boy,” he said.
The details of what followed are less important than the disappointment the boyfriend left behind. No Legos got built during his six-month stay, and it took a call to the police to get him to go. The children asked about him a few days later but have not mentioned him since.
Whether measured by Legos or marriage rates, the pattern is similar: the middle is shifting toward the bottom.
Forty years ago, the top and middle income thirds had virtually identical family patterns: more than 95 percent of households with children in either tier had two parents in the home. Since then the groups have diverged, according to Mr. Western and Ms. Shollenberger: 88 percent at the top have two parents, but just 71 percent do in the middle.
“Things remained extremely stable in the top third,” Mr. Western said. “The middle is increasingly suffering some of the same disadvantages as the bottom.”
That is the essence of the story of Ms. Faulkner and Ms. Schairer. What most separates them is not the impact of globalization on their wages but a 6-foot-8-inch man named Kevin.
School Trips and Scouting
Kevin Faulkner works the sunrise shift twice a week, leaving home at 5:30 a.m. for a computer programming job so he can leave work in time to take his sons to afternoon swim practice. Jeremy, 12, is serious and quiet. Justin, 10, is less driven but more openly affectionate. They arrived home recently to a note from Ms. Faulkner about the next day’s Boy Scout trip.
Kevin — Pay Home Depot
Chris — Sort clothes
The couple’s life together has unfolded in to-do-list style. They did not inherit wealth or connections or rise on rare talent. They just did standard things in standard order: high school, college, job, marriage and children. “I don’t think I could have done it any more by the books,” Ms. Faulkner said.
The result is a three-bedroom house, two busy boys and an annual Disney cruise.
The secret to their success resides in part in old-fashioned math: strength in numbers. Together, the Faulkners earn nearly three times as much as what Ms. Faulkner earns alone. Their high five-figure income ranks them near the 75th percentile — hardly rich, but better off than nearly three of four families with children.
For Ms. Schairer, the logic works in reverse. Her individual income of $24,500 puts her at the 49th percentile among parents: smack in the middle. But with only one paycheck, her family income falls to the 19th percentile, lagging more than four out of five.
The Faulkners built a house in Livingston County because of the good schools. Ms. Schairer cares about education, too. But with Ann Arbor rents wreaking havoc on her budget, she is considering a move to a neighboring town where the school system lags. She shops at discount grocery stores and tells Savannah to keep away a friend who raids the cabinets.
“I feel bad, like maybe she’s not getting enough to eat,” Ms. Schairer said. “But sometimes I don’t know what I’m going to feed my own kids, never mind another.”
Jeremy Faulkner plays tennis and takes karate. Justin plays soccer and baseball. They both swim and participate in Boy Scouts, including a weeklong summer camp that brings the annual activities bill to about $3,500.
Boy Scouts has been especially important, offering the boys leadership opportunities and time with their father, who helps manage the troop and rarely misses a weekly meeting or monthly camping trip. Jeremy started as a shy boy terrified of public speaking. Now he leads the singalong and is racing to make Eagle Scout.
“He’s just blossomed through Boy Scouts,” Ms. Faulkner said. “I could do the scouting with them, because we have single moms who play that role. But they have different experiences with their dad. Kevin makes good money, but he’s an awesome dad.”
Ms. Schairer tells an opposite story: constraints in time and money limit her children to one sports season a year. That compounds Steavon’s isolation, she said, and reduces her chances to network on his behalf. When she invited his classmates to a park on his birthday a few months ago, no one came.
“He cried and cried and cried,” she said. “I tried the parents I had numbers for, but they didn’t respond.”
Researchers have found that extracurricular activities can enhance academic performance, and scholars cite a growing activities gap to help explain why affluent children tend to do so much better than others in school.
Four decades ago, families in the top income fifth spent about four times as much as those at the bottom fifth on things like sports, music and private schools, according to research by Greg J. Duncan of the University of California, Irvine, and Richard J. Murnane of Harvard. Now affluent families spend seven times as much.
Two parents also bring two parenting perspectives. Ms. Faulkner does bedtime talks. Mr. Faulkner does math. When Ms. Faulkner’s coaxing failed to persuade Jeremy to try hamburgers, Mr. Faulkner offered to jump in a pool fully clothed if he took a bite — an offer Jeremy found too tempting to refuse.
While many studies have found that children of single parents are more likely to grow up poor, less is known about their chances of advancement as adults. But there are suggestions that the absence of a father in the house makes it harder for children to climb the economic ladder.
Scott Winship of the Brookings Institution examined the class trajectories of 2,400 Americans now in their mid-20s. Among those raised in the poorest third as teenagers, 58 percent living with two parents moved up to a higher level as adults, compared with just 44 percent of those with an absent parent.
A parallel story played out at the top: just 15 percent of teenagers living with two parents fell to the bottom third, compared with 27 percent of teenagers without both parents.
“You’re more likely to rise out of the bottom if you live with two parents, and you’re less likely to fall out of the top,” Mr. Winship said.
Mr. Winship interprets his own results cautiously, warning that other differences (like race, education or parenting styles) may also separate the two groups. And even if marriage helped the people who got married, he warns, it might hurt other families if it tied them to troubled men.
“You get back to the question of how many marriageable men there are,” he said.
At the same time, scholars have found that marriage itself can have a motivating effect, pushing men to earn more than unmarried peers. Marriage, that is, can help make men marriageable.
As Mr. Faulkner tells it, something like that happened to him — he returned to college after an aimless hiatus because he wanted to marry Ms. Faulkner. “I knew I had to get serious about my life,” he said.
His experiences as a father so far suggest just how much there is to be said for simply showing up.
“Thank you for coming, Dad,” Justin wrote after a school trip. “I like it when you’re with me at every event and watching me do every activity.”
He added 16 exclamation points.
End of the Day
Left to do the showing up alone, Ms. Schairer makes big efforts. She rarely misses a weekend of church with the children, and she sacrificed a day’s pay this spring to chaperon field day at Steavon and Savannah’s school. “They were both saying, ‘This is my mom, my mom is here!’ ” she said.
In February, she received $7,000 of refundable tax credits, the low-wage worker’s annual bonus. She prepaid her rent for six months and bought plane tickets to Orlando, Fla. After years of seeing pictures of Ms. Faulkner’s vacations, she wanted to give her children one of their own.
“Do you think we’ll see Jesus?” Savannah asked on the flight. “I hope the plane doesn’t run him over.”
They stayed with Ms. Schairer’s brother, visited SeaWorld and Gatorland, and brought back happy memories. But the trip soon began to seem long ago, more a break from their life than an embodiment of it.
Ms. Schairer sank into the couch on a recent Friday night, looking weary, and half-watched a rerun of “Friends.” Steavon retreated to his room to watch “Superman” alone, and Savannah went out to play with the girl who always seems hungry. Kirsten was in her pajamas at 7 o’clock. They had few weekend plans.
Thirty miles away, Troop 395 was pitching tents beside a rural airstrip, where the next day the boys would take glider rides and earn aviation badges. The fields and barns looked as tidy as cartoons, and an extravagant sunset painted them pomegranate.
The clipboard in Justin Faulkner’s hands called for an early reveille. “I’m the patrol leader,” he said, beaming.
Thirty minutes later, a rope appeared. Boys started to boast. Mr. Faulkner snapped on his tug of war gloves, only to discover that Justin had disappeared. He found him sitting in the grass nearby, fighting back tears. “I want to go home,” Justin said.
Mr. Faulkner did not say much. Jeremy used to get homesick, too. Now he is halfway to Eagle Scout. After a while Mr. Faulkner asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to do a tug of war against me?”
Justin watched the other boys tumble. “When?” he said.
“We can do it right now,” Mr. Faulkner said.
It was not much of a contest for a man who outweighs his two sons combined by more than 100 pounds. Justin fell face first and bumped through the cool grass — a laughing tenderfoot pulled along by his dad.
Source: New York Times
Agency Mutual Back-Scratching
July 14, 2012 permalink
In Washington DC the schools are going to report chronic truancy to the local child protectors, there called the Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA). Some problems with the approach are mentioned in the news article, but not the motivation. Schools are typically funded based on the number of their students, so loss of students threatens their finances. The threat to call CFSA presumably will enhance attendance. The cooperation between the schools and CFSA could come from the boards of directors. Typically agencies of this kind have employees from one agency serve as directors of another. Or the cooperation could come at the union level. The CFSA union may be supporting their brothers-in-arms in the schools by keeping up their attendance, and consequently, their funding.
DCPS to refer truant students to child-protective services
DC Public Schools is planning to combat its persistent truancy problem by strictly enforcing for the first time a law requiring principals to refer the parents of frequently absent students to child-protective services, Chancellor Kaya Henderson said Thursday.
"Jail is not for me -- I have to comply with the law," Henderson told members of the D.C. Council on Thursday. "I'm going to push my people to comply."
But Henderson, principals and even the lawmakers she was addressing acknowledged that reporting children who missed 10 days of school without excuse to the Child and Family Services Agency could ultimately sabotage their efforts to build relationships with these families, causing anti-truancy efforts to backfire.
About 11 percent of DCPS students are chronically truant, with six high schools accounting for 47 percent of all truancy cases. As of May 7, there were 441 truancy cases at Ballou Senior High School, and 410 at Anacostia Senior High School. Students are labeled "chronically truant" after 15 unexcused absences.
The problem starts much earlier than high school, but just 18 percent of the cases coming from elementary schools that should have been referred to the child-protective agency last year actually were, Henderson said. The call doesn't trigger an investigation to remove the child from his or her home -- rather, the agency is tasked with an "assessment" of why the student is missing class -- but the perception is powerful.
"The simple fact that they're from CFSA makes them say, 'Wait, I don't trust those school people anymore, they called CFSA on me,' " Henderson said.
Caroline John, the principal of Stanton Elementary School, admitted that she did not always follow the existing reporting law.
"The situation can be complex, and we don't always feel a one-size-fits-all model is appropriate," John said. "It could be a family that's moved to nine, 10 homes in a year. ... A CFSA referral of truancy is not going to solve that housing problem."
In addition to family services referrals, DC Public Schools is planning to increase staffing at at-risk schools, keep better track of excused absences and expand anti-truancy programs tested this past school years in the system's middle schools and for certain at-risk ninth-graders.
District officials did not have data on the success of these programs Thursday. Henderson said the ninth-grade initiative at Anacostia and Ballou "was not fully successful [but] our hope is that continued efforts will significantly reduce truancy rates."
Source: Washington Examiner
July 14, 2012 permalink
An adopted girl in Georgia was outfitted with a shock collar by her forever parents, Samuel and Diana Franklin.
Shock collar seized from Taylor County home of couple charged with child abuse
GBI agents seized a canine shock collar that a Taylor County couple allegedly used to punish their adopted teenage daughter.
The collar was sitting on a table in the Butler home of Diana and Samuel Franklin on Tuesday when Diana Franklin was arrested, said Wayne Smith, the special agent in charge of the GBI’s Columbus field office.
The couple was charged with child cruelty and false imprisonment after allegations that they had locked the 15-year-old girl inside a chicken coop, an outhouse and a storage building for days at a time.
Smith said the collar is being tested for DNA.
Authorities previously searched the home June 4, specifically looking for the collar, but didn’t find it that day, Smith said.
The girl was removed from the Franklins’ home May 25 after the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services received a complaint of abuse at the home and paid a visit.
Smith said the Franklins have biological children, all sons. One is in college. Another is in the military. A third son, age 17, still lives at home.
Diana Franklin, 44, is charged with 12 counts of cruelty to children and four counts of false imprisonment. Samuel Franklin, 46, is charged with eight counts of cruelty to children and eight counts of false imprisonment, according to the GBI.
The Franklins were released on bond Tuesday.
Source: Macon Telegraph
Father Tires to Retrieve Baby
July 14, 2012 permalink
Syracuse NY father Asmar I Evans has been charged for trying to take his baby from its foster home.
Father attempts to take back his baby, which was placed by Child Protective Services in a Solvay home
Solvay, NY -- A Syracuse man is facing several charges after Solvay police said he tried to remove his child from the home where Child Protective Services had placed the baby.
Asmar Evans, 32, of 105 Croly St. Apt. 307, entered an apartment about 1:30 p.m. in the 300 block of Charles Avenue without permission to take his four-month-old child, police said. The baby had been placed in the Charles Avenue home by Child Protective Services, police said.
When Evans was refused his child, Evans became irate and assaulted both residents of the Charles Avenue apartment, police said.
Evans was charged with two counts of burglary, two counts of assault and one count of criminal possession of a weapon, all felonies. Evans also was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.
Evans was arraigned in Solvay Village Court and ordered held on $100,000 bail at the Onondaga County Justice Center.
Source: Syracuse Post-Standard
July 12, 2012 permalink
Dufferin CAFS has given the Gary Putman Award to Marianne Breadner. Following the celebratory article in the Orangeville Citizen is an example of the method used by Mrs Breadner to maintain her unblemished reputation.
Gary Putman Award winner chosen
The winner of the Gary Putman Award was presented to Marianne Breadner at Dufferin Child and Family Services’ Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Marianne was chosen from four nominees for her development and leadership, on a volunteer basis, of a social drop in group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQQ) youth in the area. The purpose of this group has been to provide a safe place for LGBTQQ youth in our area – a group of young adults who, collectively, face discrimination on average 26 times a day and who are four times more likely to commit suicide.
Marianne, along with Rae St. Amour started the LGBT Support Group in Dufferin County in March 1999 and they have been involved with over 250 youth between the ages of 14 to 25 years. “Marianne provided on a weekly basis a safe, supportive and informative environment where we could be ourselves and not fear harm, ridicule, harassment, bullying and assaults,” said Adam Diamond, an LGBT Participant and nominator.
The Gary Putman Award was created to recognize a member of the Dufferin County community who has made a significant contribution in improving the health and wellness of children and families, has demonstrated creativity and innovation to advance services in the community, has raised awareness of social issues affecting children and families and has worked collaboratively within the community to enhance services. Marianne Breadner’s contribution spans all these areas.
Gary Putman led Dufferin Child and Family Services for 29 years before retiring as Executive Director in November 2007. In recognition of Gary’s tremendous efforts and dedication to the children and youth of Dufferin County, an annual award was created in his honour.
Dufferin Child and Family Services would like to thank the nominators and congratulate the very deserving nominees – David Waters , Heather Hayes, and, Richard Beaudoin. The response clearly shows that our community cares and has numerous individuals who are committed to the well being of children.
Source: Orangeville Citizen
Below is a letter from the lawyer Robert D Grant alleging an error of fact in the story of Kenneth McQuaid. In over a half megabyte of text, this is the only allegation of an error of fact. To avoid reopening old litigation, the actual alleged error is blotted out.
Kearns, McKinnon LLP Barristers & Solicitors
Peter A Gifford, QC Frank O Brewster, QC Robert D Grant Robert R Berry Cavan B Acheson Robin-Lee A Norris Steven W Pettipiere D Bryan Holub Blake M Kurisko Anja E Nurvo Fiona M McCrea Carol S VandenHoek Sean W Plat Thomas W R Manes Owen Haw, Counsel
Celebrating over 100 years of service to our communities
512 Woolwich Street PO Box 930 Guelph Ontario N1H 6M8
Tel: (519) 822-4680
Fax: (519) 822-1583
265 Bridge Street PO Box 128 Fergus Ontario N1M 2W7
Tel: (519) 843-1960
Fax: (519) 843-6888
(end of letterhead)
Arpil 23, 2001
PLEASE REPLY TO: Robert D Grant (ext 112)
INTERNET ADDRESS: email@example.com
OUR FILE NO:
PLEASE REPLY TO THE FERGUS OFFICE
Robert T McQuaid
Orangeville, Ontario L9W 2Z2
We represent the Upper Grand District School Board. Our attention has been directed to Website www.freespeech.org/herod. This site contains libelous material relating to a Child and Youth Counselor with the Upper Grand District School Board, namely Marianne Breadner. The offending portion appears in the Name Index and Glossary to an article authored by you wherein you make reference to Marianne indicating she is "renowned locally for █████-█████████ ████████ ██ ██████"; this statement is false, libelous and highly damaging to both Marianne and to the Board.
We demand that you take immediate steps to remove the libelous material forthwith. We require that the website be so amended by Friday, April 27, 2001 at 12 noon. We are seeking our client's further instructions at that time.
Govern yourself accordingly,
Yours Very Truly,
KEARNS, McKINNON LLP
Robert D Grant
Upper Grand District School Board
500 Victoria Road N
Guelph Ontario N1E 6K2
ATTN: Bill Blackie
CAS Supports the Downtrodden (Maybe)
July 12, 2012 permalink
Shortly after the Dunnville rally the Sachem and Glanbrook Gazette tells a favorable story about children's aid using real names. CAS has spent a lifetime helping Laura Davies. Chris York, who knows the family's circumstances, gives a rebuttal. The article reports CAS helping Laura with her college finances. Look to past articles for the pathetic size of the CAS bursaries.   .
Dunnville graduate recipient of Clark Grant
Laura Davies has faced adversities that many of her peers cannot even imagine.
Davies is one of the recent graduates from Dunnville Secondary School. She stands out from her graduating class not just because she’s a straight A honours student, but because she was able to excel despite a tough background.
“I spent my entire life in the system from the age of five,” Davies explained her connection to the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). “When I came in, I was illiterate so [CAS] helped me financially with school, with camp, with any extracurricular activities that I wanted to join.”
Despite the challenges that she’s faced in life, Davies has become a hardworking youth and it was the help of the CAS, her case worker and foster mom that allowed her to flourish into the person she is today.
“When I was five and came in, I was shy, didn’t really talk to anybody. I kept to myself. It was hard to get me to speak,” she said. “Over the years, I learned how to deal with people. I learned how to be friendly and make friends. I learned how to get honours in school and work hard for something. This foster mom that I’m with right now taught me not to give up on anything.”
Davies has recently been recognized by her peers and those who have been a part of her development over the years. She is the recipient of this year’s Clark Grant and received $1,000 to help pay for her studies.
“I was extremely happy. I was so overwhelmed. It just made me feel proud and I was so lucky to get that award,” she said. “My agency nominated me for the award. They chose me out of all of the kids in the agency.”
Davies plans to go to Sheridan College and get her diploma to become a social service worker.
“Being a child in care, it made me want to help people in the system as well,” she said. “I wanted to give back to the community that gave me the opportunity to be successful myself.”
Davies said her goal is to become a case worker at the Children’s Aid Society of Haldimand and Norfolk – the same place that gave her the skills to be a responsible young adult, and the chance to live a full life.
“I pay room and board to the foster parent who has had me now for 10 years. She’s like a mom to me,” she said. “I’m good in school. I like learning. I did horseback riding and dance for many years. I’m hard working at everything that I do. ”
It was because of Mary Sedgwick, her foster parent, and the CAS that Davies was able to have a very fulfilling childhood.
“Also, my [case] workers have always been there for me. I would just text them and ask them questions and they were always there for emotional support as well as financial.”
Though Davies knew about the award since April, she officially celebrated her grant with the other recipients around the province at the awards dinner on June 4. It was then that she was able to personally thank the Clarks themselves at the dinner.
“I’m thankful that the Clarks gave it to me. They’re really nice people,” she described the Caledonia couple. “They’re very generous and because of them a lot of kids can actually go off to college and university and actually live their dream.”
Ron and Nancy Clark established the Clark Bursary Fund in 1989 to help youths who are receiving services from the Ontario Children’s Aid Society so they can attend post-secondary school.
Two awards were given out to the students in the Haldimand-Norfolk area. One was the bursary, which provides up to $4,500 per year for four years to those attending university and $3,000 per year for two or three years to those attending college. The Clark Grant Awards are a one-time grant of $1,000 given to a youth that the CAS in the area nominates.
Currently, 77 youths in the province are actively pursuing post-secondary studies with the help of the Clark Awards.
According to the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS), youths in care have a high school graduation rate of 44 per cent compared to their peers who have an 81 per cent graduation rate. This award is meant to help youths reach their highest potential and help pay for higher education.
“The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) is extremely proud of all of the youth in care and former youth in care who are pursuing post-secondary education,” said Caroline Newton, director of communications at OACAS. “Through the generosity of Ron and Nancy Clark, we award more than 70 young people with bursaries and grants to help support them in their academic pursuits each year.”
Source: Sachem and Glanbrook Gazette (Metroland)
Here is an impassioned response by a man who knows the family.
Chris York ok i have to ring in on this because i personally know for a fact that her story is the biggest load of lies and crap i have ever read. i likely know this alot better then anyone.Laura Davies you are a liar and you didnt have it that bad as a child. neither did your 3 other sisters or 2 other brothers.The CAS of Haldimand stole the 4 of you based on total lies and you know it.
Chris York its is a load of crap and all lies. this girl did not have a hard life like they claim i know this for a fact. her 2 older sisters both own there own business and house. her older brother is living at home as well.
Source: Facebook, FIXCAS
Addendum: Within a day the article on Laura Davies was withdrawn by the Sachem and Glanbrook Gazette.
CPS Threat to Silence Litigant
July 12, 2012 permalink
When Caitlyn Gourley made a discrimination complaint against her employer the pizza shop boss knew how to scare her off. He threatened to call CPS to have her child removed.
Pizza worker alleges boss threatened to have her child taken
A former pizza worker claims her boss threatened to have her child taken from her after she filed charges alleging sexual harassment against his company.
Caitlyn Gourley claims she filed sexual harassment and gender discrimination charges against defendant Pizza World USA and its owner, defendant Eric Wortham, on May 23, 2011. After she filed the complaint on May 23, 2011, however, Wortham began threatening her, according to the lawsuit filed July 2 in Madison County Circuit Court.
"Wortham stated that if Gourley did not contact him immediately, Wortham's lawyers would file a counterclaim against Ms. Gourley for tortious interference with a business; would garnish Ms. Gourley's wages no matter where she was, for the rest of her life, until she paid Wortham $20,000 to $40,000 plus damages," the suit states. "Wortham threatened Gourley with imprisonment for up to six years. Wortham threatened that Ms. Gourley's new born child would be taken away from her."
Wortham later left Gourley a voice mail that informed her that he had called child protective services to tell them that there were numerous problems with her household, the complaint says.
Terrified that she would lose her child, Gourley claims she suffered from sleeplessness, shaking, crying spells and severe emotional distress.
She alleges retaliation in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the defendants.
In her complaint, Gourley is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.
Kenneith J. Brennan of Ken Brennan Law in Collinsville will be representing her.
Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-942.
Source: Record, Madison/St Clair
What Killed Maliikkii?
July 11, 2012 permalink
A rally in Sudbury demanded answers concerning the death of three-month-old Maliikkii Beaudry after less than two days in CAS foster care. Northern Life reports below, with video (avi).
Family wants answers after infant dies in care
Demonstrators take aim at children’s aid societies
Marjorie Beaudry has a lot of questions after her four-month-old grandson died earlier this month while briefly under the care of foster parents.
“What we’re saying is ... why did he die? How did he die?” Beaudry asked, speaking at a rally in downtown Sudbury July 11.
The rally was held in front of the provincial government building at 159 Cedar St. It was organized by the Ontario Coalition for Accountability, a group fighting to broaden the umbrella of provincial government and provincial government-affiliated organizations, including children’s aid societies, that can be investigated by the Ontario Ombudsman.
Beaudry’s grandchild was born prematurely, weighing just one pound. The baby’s parents are from Wikwemikong, and have four other young children.
She said her daughter and son-in-law recently moved to Greater Sudbury after they were kicked off the reserve because some band members suspected the couple of being drug distributors.
Beaudry said neither of them have ever been convicted of a drug-related offence.
Because they were unable to find housing right away, the family of six had been temporarily staying in a motel room.
Due to their situation, the family was approached by the Children’s Aid Society of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin (CAS) to place the baby in foster care when he was ready to be released from hospital, Beaudry said.
CAS could neither confirm nor deny this claim as it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the child’s death.
“The CAS said ‘You can’t accommodate the baby — another child in that room is not acceptable,’” Beaudry said. “They coerced her to sign a three-month custody agreement. Very reluctantly, they signed it.”
The baby was released from hospital into the care of foster parents on July 2. However, on July 4, the baby was brought to Health Sciences North, where he was pronounced dead.
His death is now under investigation by Greater Sudbury Police and the coroner’s office.
Beaudry said her daughter is “devastated” by her youngest child’s death.
Source: Northern Life
Family members spell the boy's name Maliikkii or Miliikkii, news media use Malachi.
More in the Sudbury Star.
'We want ... our son back'
Marvin Ganteaume wants the impossible.
"We want the Children's Aid Society to give back our son. That's what we want. Our son back," he said at a rally on Wednesday outside the provincial government building on Cedar Street.
Ganteaume's son, Malachi was four-months-old when he died in early July, days after being placed in foster care.
The infant was born prematurely and weighed only one pound.
According to his father, Malachi was taken to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, where he stayed for about three months before transferring to Sudbury's Health Sciences North.
"He had lung problems, brain problems and an eye problem," Ganteaume said, adding that doctors said the infant was healthy enough to go back to Sudbury.
According to the father, it was around this time that the Children's Aid Society of the District of Sudbury and Manitoulin contacted Leslie Beaudry, the child's mother, who had four other children - two sets of twins - under the age of four.
The family had been living in Wikwemikong, but were forced to move to Sudbury, where they had trouble finding housing and were staying in a motel room. Beaudry hesitantly agreed to give her baby boy to a temporary foster family.
"We were informed that all of his medical needs would be met," Ganteaume said.
The infant was released from hospital in early July and went to a foster family. On July 3, Malachi was taken to Sick Kids for an appointment, which the mother also attended.
"Mommy was concerned for his health and well being. She realized he wasn't looking well," Ganteaume said, adding that, around 6 a.m. the next day, the foster family called the hospital with concerns that the baby wasn't eating. They were told that he was probably tired from the trip to Toronto, but ended up rushing the child to the hospital later in the day. Around noon, the infant's parents were asked to come to the hospital. Around 3 p.m., they were told that he had died.
"Mommy and I were distraught. We started asking questions right away," he said.
These questions fuelled Wednesday's rally.
"We're hoping to get justice. We want someone to be accountable for our child's death," Ganteaume said.
The infant's death is now being investigated by the coroner's office, which could take four to six months. The Greater Sudbury Police are helping the coroner in the investigation and the Children's Aid Society are conducting an separate investigation.
Colette Prevost, executive director of the Manitoulin and Sudbury District CAS, said the agency can't comment on the matter.
"The matter ... is under investigation, so we're not in a position to comment, but we're aware of the rally," Prevost said.
The rally, which attracted dozens of participants - many from First Nations communities - was partly organized by the Ontario Coalition for Accountability. The coalition is fighting to allow the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate children's aid societies.
"Right now, (Ontario) is the only province in Canada that doesn't allow our ombudsman to investigate Children's aid Societies," said Tabatha Haskett, of the coalition. "We're here today in memory of a child that just recently died while in the care of the CAS."
Like the family, Haskett has many questions.
"We want answers ... we feel the family's in limbo at this time, because we don't have the coroner's report. We don't have any reports from anybody. We want them to get the closure they desperately need. They need to know what happened to their child," she said.
Source: Sudbury Star
By publishing a letter to the editor from Anne Patterson, the Sudbury Star has added to the editorial calls for ombudsman oversight.
Ombudsman should have oversight of CAS
How tragic and enraging to hear that another child has died under the care of the CAS; my condolences to his family.
Ontario has a long and ugly legacy of child deaths affiliated with child welfare as well as horrific abuse cases from various circumstances. The NDP have made several bills to have the Ontario Ombudsman to investigate the CAS, the newest bill is Bill 110. Ontario is the only province without this mechanism, and it is ridiculous that this be left any longer.
Not only are there far too many deaths, but other problems in the system are also harming children including abuse in foster care, over-medication of children and a host of other serious issues.
It is the Ontario Liberals that refuse this oversight and Laurel Broten actually had the audacity, when she was minister of Children and Youth, to say the coroner was an oversight measure, too late when a child has died like this tragic case, and shameful at best to even suggest such a thing.
Let's have Ombudsman oversight now, and if the Ontario Liberals refuse this, how about the public refusing to vote for them ever again. That they have left this mess and are allowing these agencies to continue with no oversight is a travesty.
Please call your MPP and ask for Bill 110 to be passed.
Anne Patterson London, ON
Source: Sudbury Star
Addendum: A Facebook discussion two years later disclosed:
Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...
July 11, 2012 permalink
Damon Scott, age 15, has run away from CAS. Mother Melissa Howard is understandably distressed.
Calling the OPP with Damon's location will likely result in his forcible return to CAS. In case Damon, or a person with knowledge of his whereabouts, comes across this note, there is a less disruptive alternative. Notify the mother directly, or if you are afraid the communication may be traced, notify Canada Court Watch or even fixcas. Either one can convey your message to the family. You can reach Canada Court Watch by web form or phone, mail or email or Facebook. Contact info for fixcas in on the homepage. Chad Wells, a Canada Court Watch member in Peterborough, has offered to help Damon. Chad can be reached by phone at 705-243-1612.
15-year-old runaway last seen Thursday
The mother of a 15-year-old runaway from Peterborough is asking for the public’s help in locating her missing son who was last seen in the city Thursday.
Melissa Howard said her son Damon Scott ran away from home about two months ago. He was staying with another family in Peterborough County temporarily until the Children’s Aid Society deemed Thursday that the living environment was inappropriate, Howard said.
“That was the last time anyone has seen him,” Howard said.
Peterborough County OPP Sgt. Rob Flindall said police are helping the family locate the missing teen, but said it’s often hard to find a teenager who doesn’t want to be found.
“We actively pursue and investigate any runaway until we are physically able to locate them and return them to their family,” Flindall said.
Scott is believed to be in the Peterborough/Lakefield area or the Hastings/Norwood area, his mother said. He is six-feet tall and about 180 pounds with shaved, brown hair.
“We feel hopeless. Safety is my first concern. We want to make sure he’s safe and he’s OK and we just want him to come home to his family who loves him and cares about him,” Howard said.
Anyone with information about Scott’s whereabouts is asked to call Peterborough County OPP at 705-742-0401.
Source: Peterborough Examiner
July 10, 2012 permalink
California has a law authorizing social workers to remove children from a home after a child dies of parental negligence. It sounds good, but applied to the case of William C it produced an unfair result.
Punishing California parents, unfairly
Social workers' removal of children from a home compounds a tragic accident.
The law sounds logical, at least at first: If a parent caused a child's death through abuse or neglect, then the other children in that parent's care can be made court dependents, and child welfare workers can remove them from their home. Imagine a house in which a child was beaten to death, or died of starvation. It stands to reason that other children living there are at risk. The home is dangerous, and if government ever is justified in taking children from their parents, that's when it should be done.
In application that same law can become outrageous and cruel, but still valid in the eyes of child welfare workers and the courts, as was demonstrated in a ruling Thursday by the California Supreme Court. In the case of a Los Angeles County father identified only as William C., the parental "neglect" consisted of driving his injured 18-month-old child to the hospital while a relative held her in her lap, because the certified child safety seat was in another car that someone else was using. On that day in June 2009, William had to decide — delay Valerie C.'s examination and treatment until the other car was available, or get to the hospital right away. He chose to go. On the way, another driver ran a red light and slammed into them, causing a multi-car accident. Valerie died.
That was enough, the court ruled, for officials to take away the father's other two children under the California law dealing with child death and its consequences.
The actions of the social workers compounded a tragic accident with new, needless traumas for William, and the court's decision opens the way for government officials to meddle, inappropriately, with the existing rights of generally responsible mothers and fathers. Yes, parents should use the proper car seats for their children. But the circumstances were exigent, were they not? And had there been no accident, or if there had been but Valerie wasn't killed in it, authorities would have been unable to take the surviving children under the statute in question. Nor would there have been any need to, absent any evidence that the other children were being subjected to similar neglect.
The justices rejected William's arguments that the law could be used in absurd ways — for example, to take away the children of a responsible mother who, years earlier as a teen driver, negligently hit and killed a child. Lawmakers didn't have such odd circumstances in mind when they adopted the statute, the court said. But it's difficult to believe that they had William's and Valerie's situation in mind either.
If William had made a different choice three years ago, it is not unreasonable to speculate that Valerie's condition could have deteriorated — and that William could have been charged with neglect. When the law confronts a parent with the possibility of losing his children regardless of the choice he makes, perhaps the problem is not with the parent but with the law.
Source: Los Angeles Times
Alumnus Attacks Foster Mother
July 10, 2012 permalink
Charles Rickett attacked his former foster mother in Montana by duct-taping her arms and legs, covering her face and threatening to burn her while letting her smell gasoline. Maybe she was not the Mother Teresa clone that social services want us to believe.
Bozeman escapee arrested, allegedly held former foster parent captive
Charles Rickett, who escaped from the Bozeman prerelease center, was arrested in Manhattan after allegedly tying up and Duct-taping a woman and threatening to burn her inside her home.
Rickett, 24, walked away from the Bozeman prerelease center after midnight Sunday, according to the Manhattan Police Department.
That same day, a woman says Rickett came into her bedroom at around 7 a.m., ordering her to the ground, and then tying her, Duct-taping her arms and legs together, and taping a blindfold to her face, according to an affidavit of probable cause.
Rickett then reportedly told her he would burn her if she tried to escape and waved a gas can in her face for her to smell.
Although she didn't see his face, the woman said she recognized the man's voice as that of a foster child that lived with her several years ago. She noted that the intruder was familiar with the house and "recited an old maxim that she used to tell her foster children," court papers state.
The woman was able to escape after the man left in her car. Gallatin County Sheriff's deputies found her car one block away parked in front of a driveway. They found the man on foot about two blocks from the vehicle, according to court papers.
Rickett reportedly admitted to being an escapee from the prerelease center but would not answer any further questions. He was taken to the Gallatin County Detention Center.
Inside the woman's residence, police found Duct tape, a rope, a gas can, and a bottle appearing to contain bleach or some other type of cleaning product. They also found an address book labeled with Rickett's name.
Rickett appeared in Gallatin County Justice Court Monday morning and was charged with kidnapping. He is being held in the Gallatin County Detention Center on $50,000 bond.
Source: KRTV Great Falls
July 9, 2012 permalink
The story told in this article is not much different from what happens elsewhere, but Pakistani journalists are the world's first to tell it straight.
Save your children from the child protection bureau!
In an attempt to maintain their records, the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau has taken to kidnapping children playing outside their houses, City 42 reported on Monday.
According to details, the bureau officers have been holding ‘raids’ in different areas of the cities to take children to the bureau office in Township to meet their targets for different projects that are being funded by the Punjab government and other international donors.
In one of the most recent projects worth Rs 180 million, the CPWB has set targets that include enrolment of 2,000 working children below the age of 14 in non-formal schools and of 2,000 higher age group children in the literacy cum skill training classes. These ‘targets’ require for CPWB to ensure the ‘presence’ of these children in the centres and instead of looking for real beggars, child labourers and orphans, the CPWB has resorted to kidnapping children who are being taken care of by their parents and already have a house to live in.
The parents of children who are being kidnapped by the CPWB also held a protest and said, “Our children are not orphans nor are they lost. The bureau is kidnapping them and that is causing a lot of distress to us. We request the higher authorities to look into the matter.”
Source: Pakistan Today
Death in Sudbury
July 8, 2012 permalink
Neil Haskett Some really terrible news out of Sudbury, a three month old baby boy was taken by the Children's Aid Society of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin on Monday July 2 and less than 2 day later the child was killed in foster care. Police and the Coroners Office are now involved and the funereal is set for this Thursday, July 12 at the Wikwemikong Church on Manitoulin Island.
Further information will be available on the Paediatric Death Review website.
anyone with the location of the Copper Cliff Foster Home, please send me a private message.
I'm really stressed because many of us know the family, they stood along side of us for reforming CAS and this is not the first child from this family to be killed either. The baby just came home and CAS goes and dies this to this family again.
I believe the two kids were first cousins and the other died escaping foster care.
This little angel was born premature and had just been released from the Sudbury Health Sciences North, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as a healthy 9 pounder.
Greg, we won't know the cause of death until the Greater Sudbury Police and the coroners office complete their investigations. Apparently, one of the foster parents drove the 10km or so from their Copper Cliff home to the Hospital instead of an ambulance and the child was dead upon arrival.
Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...
There will be a rally in downtown Sudbury on Wednesday July 11 to demand answers.
On July 10, CTV finally did a story on this case (mp4), giving the date of death as July 4. There is still no cause of death. Expand for the Northern Life story.
Infant dies while in foster care
Group to stage rally in support of parents
The recent death of a four-month-old baby boy who was briefly under the care of foster parents has prompted a rally in downtown Sudbury July 11.
The rally will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the provincial government building at 159 Cedar St. It was organized by the Ontario Coalition for Accountability, a group fighting for the Ontario Ombudsman to oversee several types of provincial organizations, including children's aid societies.
The baby was born prematurely, weighing just one pound, according to Neil Haskett, a volunteer with the Ontario Coalition for Accountability (OCA).
His parents are from Wikwemikong, and have four other young children. They recently moved to Greater Sudbury and are staying in a hotel while they find more permanent housing, according to Haskett.
Because of their situation, they were approached by the Children's Aid Society of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin (CAS) to place the baby in foster care when he was ready to be released from hospital, the OCA said (CAS could neither confirm nor deny this claim as it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the child's death). The family reluctantly agreed.
The baby was released from hospital into the care of foster parents on July 2, Haskett said. However, on July 4, the baby was brought to Health Sciences North, where he was pronounced dead.
His death is now under investigation by Greater Sudbury Police and the coroner's office.
Haskett said his group is holding the rally partly in support of the baby's family members, but he also wants the facts surrounding this case to be revealed.
“Even if the child died of natural causes, the death of a child is of concern to us,” he said. “We feel sorry for the family, and my condolences to them.
“Our group wants to make sure that if this wasn't an accident, or if something could have been done differently, that there will be policy in the future to ensure it never happens again.
“Likewise, we want to make sure that if the foster family didn't do anything wrong, that it's known they didn't do anything wrong.”
Dr. Craig Muir, the regional supervising coroner for the north region in Sudbury, said he couldn't release very many details about the death, as it's still under investigation. He said he expects he'll release his findings in four to six months.
“You never want to be premature with facts and conclusions,” Muir said. “You can imagine the number of facts that need to be explored and validated. That's part of the reason it takes as long as it takes.”
Colette Prevost, executive director of the Children's Aid Society of the Districts of Sudbury and Manitoulin, also said she couldn't say much about the case, as it's being actively investigated by Greater Sudbury Police and the coroner's office.
“We are just in the midst of gathering information and making sure we have all the details,” she said. “Essentially, in any active investigations, we wouldn't be in the position to provide comment.”
Northern Life also contacted the baby's parents. The baby's father said he doesn't want to discuss his son's death publicly at this time.
He did say the family is currently seeking a lawyer, and they have a lot of questions about the baby's death that still need to be answered.
The father also added that he's unhappy about Muir's statements to other local media outlets that the baby was not dead on arrival at the hospital. The family was told by doctors at the hospital that he was dead on arrival.
When speaking to Northern Life, Muir clarified his comments, saying that when someone is classified as being “dead on arrival,” the hospital didn't make any efforts to resuscitate them.
In the baby's case, the hospital tried to revive him.
“If any person arrives at a hospital and they're not breathing and they don't have a pulse, sometimes with resuscitation you can restore breathing or a pulse,” he said. “Efforts were made in that regard, but they were unsuccessful.”
Source: Northern Life
From Facebook, a photo of baby Miliikkii Beaudry
Vicky Haigh Jailed
July 7, 2012 permalink
Christopher Booker follows up on two cases. Joe Ollis and Marie Black have finally been reunited with their daughter Luna in France. But Vicky Haigh remains serving her three-year jail sentence for a trifling infraction. Suspected real reason for her harsh sentence: publicly criticizing the family court system.
A baby comes home – but a mother remains in jail
A girl taken from her parents in France has finally been returned, but Vicky Haigh's case has no such happy ending
There were contrasting outcomes last week to two of the stories I have been reporting involving parents whose children were removed from them by our family courts. In France there were tears of joy when Marie Black and Joe Ollis were reunited with their baby daughter Luna, born in France in February but then seized by Norfolk social workers, to be brought back to England to live in foster care. Although this action had been sanctioned by a British court, a High Court judge ruled in May that the seizure was illegal, because Luna was born in France and was therefore outside UK jurisdiction.
Despite further prevarication by the social workers, they eventually obeyed the judge’s order that the child should be returned to France. Last week, finally, Luna was handed by a French court back to her parents. “At first,” they tell me, “she was quiet and withdrawn after her time in foster care, but now she is alert and cheerful.”
This is a landmark case which should give cheer to those scores of parents who flee abroad for the birth of children threatened with seizure by our social workers. For this reason, perhaps the British taxpayer’s expenditure on this episode – estimated at £250,000 or more – was not entirely wasted.
Rather less happy was the outcome of the Court of Appeal hearing on Wednesday at which, as I reported last week, the former racehorse trainer Vicky Haigh awaited a response to her appeal against a three-year prison sentence for breaching a “non-molestation order”. The order had prohibited any further contact with the daughter whom Miss Haigh had lived with for the first seven years of the girl’s life. The breach occurred when she walked by chance into a petrol station and saw her daughter sitting alone in her ex-husband’s car. She opened the door to speak to her, the girl’s father came back, and there followed a brief, heated exchange, lasting under a minute. For this, Miss Haigh received the longest sentence, by far, ever handed down for any breach of such an order, even those involving physical violence.
Only allowed to observe Wednesday’s hearing via a video link to her prison in Yorkshire, she heard allegations that she had been planning to kidnap her daughter (for which no evidence has ever been produced), and reference to a very hostile judgment on her case made last year by Lord Justice Wall, head of the family courts, which he ordered to be published. The judges agreed to reduce her sentence by nine months, the most they could consider without allowing her, under the rules, to be freed immediately.
Source: Telegraph (UK)
Addendum: The Daily Mail gives more detail on Luna Black.
Social workers followed me to France to snatch my baby
After a landmark court victory, a British mother tells her harrowing story
At a cottage deep in the French countryside, a baby girl kicks her feet in the air and smiles at her father, Joe, as she is cuddled by her mother, Marie.
Little Luna is home at last — reunited with her parents at the end of an historic legal battle against British social workers which began when Marie became pregnant and moved to France from her home in Norfolk.
Soon after Luna was born in February, social workers from Norfolk snatched her from her family, flew her to Britain, put her into the care of foster parents and began making plans to have her adopted.
They had accused Marie of putting Luna ‘at risk’ of harm by keeping in touch with her violent estranged husband, who is not baby Luna’s father and who had previously been jailed for assault.
It is an allegation 31-year-old Marie strenuously denies, saying she never wants to see the man again. But social workers spent up to £250,000 of taxpayers’ money in court and legal fees to try to prove their case.
It is believed to be the first time British social workers have snatched a baby born abroad from its parents — a baby who had never set foot in Britain — and brought it back to this country for adoption.
For 12 weeks, Joe and Marie were allowed to see and speak to their daughter just three times, and only then via video calls to Luna’s foster family on internet phone system Skype.
Then in a landmark decision, the High Court in London ruled Norfolk social services’ actions were illegal. Because Luna was born in France and her parents had a permanent home there, she was outside England’s jurisdiction.
The little girl was returned to the couple after French social services concluded they were trustworthy parents. Joe and Marie were told: ‘Your new life is ahead of you with your baby — go and enjoy her.’
Marie said this week at their home near Cahors in south-west France: ‘We were so excited. Luna went to sleep that first night back with us as though she had never been away.
'I lost the chance of breastfeeding her, and we missed her first smile. We blame the English social workers'
But she added: ‘I had lost the chance of breastfeeding her, and we missed her first smile. We blame the English social workers.’
The couple now plan to seek compensation from Norfolk social services for unnecessarily separating them from their baby.
John Hemming, the Lib Dem MP who has advised many parents whose children have been removed by social services, said: ‘The Norfolk social workers don’t seem to recognise any limits on their legal authority.’
The couple’s solicitor, Brendan Fleming, added: ‘I find it amazing that social workers flew to a country outside their jurisdiction and brought this baby to Britain at a cost of thousands of pounds of public money.’
Social workers are under immense pressure not to make a mistake following the Baby P case in London in 2007. He died after suffering many injuries despite being seen by Haringey social services and NHS doctors.
This has led to a big increase in the number of children taken into care — mostly against their parents’ wishes. Meanwhile, there has growing criticism of the accuracy of evidence given by psychological ‘experts’ in the family courts and a growing mistrust in social services.
As a result, increasing numbers of parents under investigation have fled abroad, worried their children will be forcibly removed from them by social workers.
It is estimated that there are now at least 300 families living overseas for this reason, in countries such as Ireland, Cyprus, Spain, Italy and France, where the social services try to keep troubled families together rather than taking their sons or daughters away.
Marie and Joe have certainly had turbulent personal lives, though they are intelligent and obviously very much in love. They met at school in Norwich at 14, and had a relationship for five years.
Joe ended up working in Rugby as a builder, but returned to Norwich after he fell out with his girlfriend and was homeless.
In the meantime, Marie had married young and had five children by her abusive husband before fleeing his violence. At one stage, she lived with her children in a hostel for abused women.
But when this proved difficult, she asked social services for help. They took the children into temporary care, and have refused to return them (we have hidden Marie’s face here to protect her other children’s identities).
Social services accused her of secretly keeping in touch with her husband, putting her children, including Luna, at risk of violence.
Marie insists her only contact with her ex-partner came when she was living in the hostel and, in desperation, asked for his help in transporting her children to and from their schools. She bitterly regrets this.
‘I am the last person who would want to see my husband — particularly as I repeatedly reported him to the police,’ she said.
Joe and Marie then embarked on a fresh relationship after becoming Facebook friends. They set up home together, and last summer Marie became pregnant.
During one of the family court cases over her other children, Norwich social services learned she was expecting — and warned Marie her baby would be taken into care and prepared for adoption.
The couple were horrified. They were already planning a new life in France, where they could share a house with Joe’s mother in the village of Frayssinet-le-Gelat, near Cahors, where she has lived and worked as a landscape gardener for ten years.
Last November, when Marie was 20 weeks’ pregnant, they left Britain. ‘We needed a fresh start, but we did not run away,’ insisted Joe.
In France, he started work as a general builder. But ten days after Luna’s birth in hospital, a letter was left in their postbox by a courier from Norfolk social services, saying they planned to put Luna into care in England.
‘I was distraught,’ said Marie. ‘They said I had to “return” her to England, although she had never been to England. They said she was “at risk” from me because of my husband.’
The couple wrote back to Norfolk social services saying they were not going to cooperate in an ‘illegal kidnapping’. But by early March, social services in France had been contacted by Norwich social workers.
'We were cuddling Luna, and even the male French social worker in charge of our case was welling up'
Joe and Marie were invited to meet a female judge and local social workers in a Cahors court house to discuss their baby’s future. At the end of the meeting, the judge said that until matters were ironed out, Luna must go into the care of a French social services.
‘We left without Luna and I cried all the way home,’ Marie said.
‘For the next few weeks, Luna was fostered by a woman locally. We were allowed to see her at a social services centre twice a week.’
However, on Friday, March 23, matters changed for the worse. At the end of a visit to Luna, Joe noticed gendarmes outside the centre as two English social workers walked inside to take six-week-old Luna to Britain.
‘We were cuddling Luna, and even the male French social worker in charge of our case was welling up,’ said Joe.
‘We put Luna in her car seat on the floor, and left the centre so we would not have to watch her being carried off by strangers.’
That was the last they were to see of their daughter — apart from three Skype sessions — for the best part of three months.
It was then that their English solicitor, Brendan Fleming, advised Joe and Marie to ask the High Court in London for an urgent ruling on their case. The couple flew to England for the May hearing, when a judge told Norfolk social services that France, not England, had jurisdiction over the baby.
In mid-June, Luna was returned to her French foster mother, while social services in France looked into their case. And finally, Marie and Joe were exonerated.
Two weeks ago, the couple got the news they longed to hear. ‘You can take your baby home,’ said a judge at a hearing in Cahors.
‘We walked out into the street cuddling and kissing our daughter,’ said Joe.
‘Now the nightmare is over and she is ours for ever.’
Source: Daily Mail
Animal Attacks Social Worker
July 7, 2012 permalink
British social worker Kamal Vivian Ray was repeatedly attacked by a wild animal as he was ending a visit with a family. Was the attacker a bear, a tiger? Nope. A Homo sapiens. Jessica Karoline Gisela Woods was sufficiently incensed by his behavior that she turned into a wild animal and repeatedly attacked him. The news article is silent on what Mr Ray was doing to the woman during his visit.
Woman 'like wild animal' in attack on social worker
A WOMAN who repeatedly punched, butted and kneed her social worker in a violent attack was "like a wild animal," a court has heard.
Magistrates were told how she jumped on the man's back as he lay senseless on the floor and, grabbing hold of his hair, banged his face into the ground three times.
The incident happened in the car park of Carmarthenshire Council's offices at Lime Grove House in Carmarthen.
Jessica Karoline Gisela Woods, of Bro Myrddin, Johnstown, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm against the social worker Kamal Vivian Ray.
Prosecutor Ellie Morgan said the attack took place after a regular session with the worker last November.
As they left the building to return to their cars, Woods asked Mr Ray see some files relating to the case.
When Mr Ray said he did not know if she could see them, Woods said: "Well, you should know, you're a qualified social worker," added Ms Morgan.
"She became aggressive and was inches from his face."
She said Mr Ray backed away but was grabbed by the collar and punched to the chest by Woods.
He lost his balance and Woods was seen butting him and then kneeing him to the face.
Ms Morgan said Woods kicked him a number of times to the face before grabbing his hair and smashing his head into the ground.
A witness, who was with his family in a nearby car, said Woods acted "like a wild animal."
Another member of staff called 999 and with a member of the public pulled Woods away, the court head.
Mr Ray was left deeply shocked and covered in blood. He suffered cuts and bruises to his face, hands, knees and chest.
Defence solicitor Aled Owen told the magistrates that Woods had mental health issues.
He said: "While clearly this is an offence that does her no credit, I think it has to be seen in the context of someone who has been diagnosed with an illness."
Mr Owen added: "My client's perception is that Mr Ray has been harassing her.
"The prosecution will deny it, but that is my client's perception."
The sitting magistrates decided that the case was too serious for their sentencing powers and referred the matter to the crown court.
In the meantime, a pre-sentence report will be prepared and Woods will appear at Swansea Crown Court on August 17.
Source: South Wales Evening Post
July 7, 2012 permalink
To cope with the scandals of the past year, Prince Edward County CAS has come up with an eight-part plan. Many points come out of the script. At least they don't have to put up with the criminal and civil penalties that apply to the rest of us when we engage in their kind of conduct.
CAS celebrates successes, vows to fix procedures
The management and board of the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society appear determined to ride out the storm swirling around this community agency in the past year.
In its annual meeting last week the CAS put on a decidedly brave face, choosing to stress its successes rather than dwell on failures.
It has been a very tough year for the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society.
It began by rejecting the overtures of two neighbouring Children’s Aid agencies, Hastings and Northumberland, as well as the prodding of Ministry of Children and Youth Services, for the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society to join forces with its money losing region agencies.
Then in November foster parents Joe and Janet Holm were convicted of sexually exploiting children in their care and subsequently sent to prison. In his ruling, Justice Geoff Griffin urged the community to demand an inquiry to find out how 25 children had been sent to live in this home for the past nine years—yet Prince Edward County CAS officials were unaware of the crimes perpetrated against children in their care.
Then it happened again.
Last month a 71-year-old man, who has not been named, was convicted of sex crimes against two children in his care. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday in Picton.
Charges were withdrawn against a third foster parent last month—charges brought about by a review of the local children’s aid agency’s operations, a review monitored by provincial ministry officials.
There was, however, little discussion of the “challenges” of the past year in the Salvation Army hall on Thursday night. Instead there was a decided attempt to focus on the positive— including a first-ever “Foster Parents of the Year Award” ceremony.
They couldn’t, however, ignore the questions surrounding the agency entirely.
Executive Director Bill Sweet said his agency has embarked on an eight-point plan to improve and enhance internal policies to ensure safety of the children in its care. (See sidebar).
Sweet told the Times that while none of these practices was exactly new, his agency was refining the way it does business and building on past practices.
“We have undergone an extraordinary amount of reflection these past months,” said Sweet. “We learn every day in this job.”
Sweet said he understands that his agency has much more work to do to rebuild community trust in the Prince Edward County Children’s Aid Society.
“The community has a right to expect us to do better,” said Sweet. “The community should ask questions.”
All existing board members stood for re-election. There were no nominations from the floor. Steven Ward remains chair.
The mood in the room was decidedly upbeat last week—perhaps not surprising as most of the chairs appeared to be filled by staff, board members and foster families. Several young people were recognized at the meeting for their achievements in building successful, productive lives by way of the support provided by the agency and the homes administered by the Children’s Aid Society.
One young man exuberantly credited his foster parents for turning his life around—transforming, in his words, an angry a youth into positive and energetic young man, ready to take on the world. Through the troubles and difficulties of the past year, the local Children’s Aid Society is seeking redemption through achievements like his.
Source: Wellington Times
Sixties Scoop Survivor
July 7, 2012 permalink
Sixties scoop survivor Richard Wagamese tells his own story.
Wagamese: How the Sixties Scoop left me and many others rootless
A woman came up to me at a book signing in Winnipeg recently. She was smiling, but there was a shine in her eyes that most people who meet me on book tours don't have.
She walked up confidently. She spoke quietly. She said she had driven a long way to see me. There was something vaguely familiar about her, but I could not place her face. She told me her name and I was floored.
She was my foster sister from my second foster home. Her name is Cyndy and we had not seen each other in 47 years. We hugged and the feeling of reconnection was amazing. When we were kids, we played together all the time, and until I reconnected with my blood sister, she is what I equated with that word. I had always held her fondly in my memory.
She told me that she had brought me something. She reached into her purse and handed me an envelope. In it, was a handful of photos. They were pictures of me as a foster kid circa 1963. They showed me in my Grade 1 class, on an ice rink and at a birthday party. But the one that got me the most was a picture of her and me, standing in the backyard.
I had never seen a picture of me as a child. I've seen very few of me at all until I was in my 20s. Those years are shadowed and the person I was then was lost. So to see my image, as the displaced person I was back then, was monumental. My hands shook. We hugged again and I thanked her profusely, but I look back and realize words were not nearly sufficient.
I am a survivor of the Sixties Scoop. I was one of thousands of aboriginal kids who were scooped up by government social workers and placed in foster care. Canadians do not hear nearly enough about that practice. It overlapped the residential school era and shared the devastating impact on aboriginal communities. Some residential school survivors returned home only to later have their children taken away from them through the Sixties Scoop. That's what happened to me.
In 1951, Amendment 88 of the Indian Act made all provincial laws enforceable on reserves. This allowed social services to begin apprehending children in reserve communities. In fact, social services was guaranteed payment for each child apprehended. Children were routinely sold across the border to U.S. adoption agencies for as much as $4,000 per child.
If the idea of Canada allowing the sale of children does not shock you, consider that currently, it is estimated that there are more aboriginal children in foster care than ever attended residential schools at any one time. At the schools' peak in 1953, they held 11,090 kids. Today, native youngsters represent about six per cent of all Canadian children, but they are an estimated 30 to 40 per cent of children in care, or up to 31,200 children in all. The beat, as they say, goes on.
I was grafted onto the family tree of a white family in southern Ontario after spending my first nine years in northern Ontario. That transition was shocking enough. But I have met people in my travels who were transplanted from northern Manitoba to Florida. That they ever made it back to their home communities is a miracle and a testament to their resilience.
All of those apprehended kids have dark years like mine. We essentially grew up without a history. We were denied the most basic of human rights; the right to know who we were created to be. When that right is removed and you grow up learning how it feels to always enter a room skin first, you come to understand displacement in its harshest measure, because there is no one around to give you answers.
When I held those photographs in my hand, all those years came into sharp focus. The face of that small brown child carried an expression of fear, as though he did not trust that the ground beneath his feet was stable. It wasn't. There was a knowing, too, as though he understood that he rode the whim of a system that did not care for him. It didn't and it did not protect him.
The Sixties Scoop is a largely unwritten chapter in Canada's history. It is as shameful as the residential school chapter and as susceptible to derision from the unknowing and the ignorant. But we need to look at it. We need to accept it as part of our national story. It is irrefutable. It will not go away.
Like the residential school experience, it cannot be cured by money. It requires healing. We await the beginning of the process.
Source: Calgary Herald
Testifying While Intoxicated
July 6, 2012 permalink
British social worker Fiona Crawford showed up in court drunk. She was also sometimes intoxicated while carrying out other parts of her work.
'Drunk' social worker admonished by GSCC
A social worker who attended court hearings smelling of alcohol has been formally admonished for misconduct. Fiona Crawford was found to have worked...
A social worker who attended court hearings smelling of alcohol has been formally admonished for misconduct.
Fiona Crawford was found to have worked as a children's guardian for Cafcass in Peterborough between 2005 and 2007 while under the influence of drink.
On one occasion in August 2007 Crawford arrived late at court and was described as "not making sense and making odd comments", according to statements read to a General Social Care Council conduct committee.
One witness said that although she had not noticed a smell of alcohol on Crawford in a morning session at court in April 2007, she noticed a smell after lunch.
Another described Crawford as "shaky", while her line manager, Ann Butler, said Crawford's work was "chaotic" and her reports were "of poor standard and disorganised".
Crawford, who resigned from her post, admitted drinking up to four glasses of wine in the evening up to three times a week.
Giving evidence at a hearing in London, she said it was "obviously too much" and had now addressed this.
The committee found that drink had impacted on the performance of Crawford, who now works for Coventry Council, although she had not drunk alcohol during the day.
It said it was "not acceptable to attend court smelling of alcohol" and it called into question her reliability and dependability, but took into account the fact that she regretted her behaviour and there had been no repetition of the misconduct.
The committee issued an admonishment for the maximum period of five years.
Source: Community Care (website for social workers)
Baby Stealers Sentenced
July 6, 2012 permalink
As part of Argentina's dirty war from 1976 to 1983, pregnant leftists were held until giving birth, then the mothers were killed while the babies were placed with military families for adoption. On reaching adulthood, some adoptees learned that the families that raised them were also the murderers of their parents. The junta leaders have just been convicted and sentenced. In common with other countries acknowledging baby-theft, the action was delayed for several decades, making remedial action nearly meaningless.
Ex-Argentine dictators Videla, Bignone convicted of having babies stolen from slain dissidents
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Former Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla was convicted and sentenced to 50 years Thursday for a systematic plan to steal babies from prisoners who were kidnapped, tortured and killed during the military junta’s war on leftist dissenters three decades ago.
Argentina’s last dictator, Reynaldo Bignone, also was convicted and got 15 years.
“This is an historic day. Today legal justice has been made real — never again the justice of one’s own hands, which the repressors were known for,” prominent rights activist Tati Almeida said outside the courthouse, where a jubilant crowd watched on a big screen and cheered each sentence.
The baby thefts set Argentina’s 1976-1983 regime apart from all the other juntas that ruled in Latin America at the time. Videla other military and police officials were determined to remove any trace of the armed leftist guerrilla movement they said threatened the country’s future.
The “dirty war” eventually claimed 13,000 victims according to official records. Many were pregnant women who were “disappeared” shortly after giving birth in clandestine maternity wards.
Videla denied in his testimony that there was any systematic plan to remove the babies, and said prisoners used their unborn children as “human shields” in their fight against the state.
Nine others, mostly former military and police officials, also were accused in the trial, which focused on 34 baby thefts. Seven were convicted and two were found not guilty.
Witnesses included former U.S. diplomat Elliot Abrams. He was called to testify after a long-classified memo describing his secret meeting with Argentina’s ambassador was made public at the request of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a human rights group whose evidence-gathering efforts were key to the trial.
Abrams testified from Washington that he secretly urged Bignone to reveal the stolen babies’ identities as a way to smooth Argentina’s return to democracy.
“We knew that it wasn’t just one or two children,” Abrams testified, suggesting that there must have been some sort of directive from a high level official — “a plan, because there were many people who were being murdered or jailed.”
No reconciliation effort was made. Instead, Bignone ordered the military to destroy evidence of “dirty war” activities, and the junta denied any knowledge of baby thefts, let alone responsibility for the disappearances of political prisoners.
The U.S. government also revealed little of what it knew as the junta’s death squads were eliminating opponents.
The Grandmothers group has since used DNA evidence to help 106 people who were stolen from prisoners as babies recover their true identities, and 26 of these cases were part of this trial. Many were raised by military officials or their allies, who falsified their birth names, trying to remove any hint of their leftist origins.
The rights group estimates as many as 500 babies could have been stolen in all, but the destruction of documents and passage of time make it impossible to know for sure.
The trial featured gut-wrenching testimony from grandmothers and other relatives who searched inconsolably for their missing relatives, and from people who learned as young adults that they were raised by the very people involved in the disappearance of their birth parents.
Prosecutors had asked for 50 years for Videla and four others. Almeida, the rights activist, said that “in some cases we would have preferred longer sentences, but since they’re such old men now, it’s almost like a perpetual sentence.”
Videla, 86, received the maximum sentence as the man criminally responsible for 20 of the thefts.
He and Bignone, 84, already have life sentences for other crimes against humanity, and are serving time behind bars despite an Argentine law that usually permits criminals over 70 to stay at home.
Seven others were convicted and sentenced by the three-judge panel on Thursday: former Adm. Antonio Vanek, 40 years; former marine Jorge “Tigre” Acosta, 30; former Gen. Santiago Omar Riveros, 20; former navy prefect Juan Antonio Azic, 14; and Dr. Jorge Magnacco, who witnesses said handled some of the births, 10.
Former Capt. Victor Gallo and his ex-wife Susana Colombo, were sentenced to 15 and five years in jail, respectively. Their adopted son, Francisco Madariaga, testified against them and said he hoped their sentences would set an example.
Retired Adm. Ruben Omar Franco and a former intelligence agent, Eduardo Ruffo, were absolved.
According to Argentine judicial procedure, the basis for the convictions and sentences won’t be revealed until Sept. 17, said the president of the judicial tribunal, Maria del Carmen Roqueta.
Source: Washington Post
Addendum: CBC's The Current (mp3) for September 6, 2012, covers the case of a woman born Victoria who discovered as an adult that the father who raised her was her parents' killer.
July 5, 2012 permalink
The BBC reports on the enormous amounts paid for residential children's homes in Britain. Annual treasury payments are £1 billion for 5 thousand young people, £200 thousand apiece ($314 thousand). Food, clothing and shelter can hardly amount to more than £10 thousand per child-year, so what happens to the rest? The BBC blames (private) profiteering, though similar finances prevail in places such as Ontario that use only non-profit agencies.
Are some children's homes putting profit before child protection?
This week the government delivered scathing criticism of residential children's homes in England. Radio 4's The Report reveals that some of the private companies running these homes have reaped big profits in recent years, and asks are they putting profit before child protection?
Children's homes - like the care industry as a whole - have undergone radical reform over the past couple of decades, where the provision of care has shifted from local authorities to private companies.
Private companies now run 75% of children's homes in England and in recent years, some of the bigger players expanded significantly, with one running over 100 homes across the country.
At present, the total cost of caring for around 5,000 young people living in residential care homes currently runs at around £1bn per year - caring for society's most vulnerable children is not cheap, and for good reason. But is this money being well spent?
"There are some very fine private sector organisations, who try very hard," says Charles Sharpe, who has spent 40 years working in the care sector.
"But where I struggle with the private sector is that in the good years, they can be good, but when the bad years come they have to scrimp and use less experienced staff and cut all sorts of corners," he tells Radio 4's The Report.
"Child care for me is something that should never be done with a profit motive."
However, it would appear that child care in England can prove very lucrative indeed.
There has been little analysis of this sector's growth, but research conducted in 2006 reported that the top five children's home providers in England made a pre-tax loss of £3.5m.
Figures compiled by Radio 4's The Report show that in 2011, the top five providers had turned a profit of £30m. I asked to speak to the management of three of these companies, but they all declined my request.
Private equity ownership
Many of the larger companies providing care are owned by private equity firms, which have links to long-term investment schemes, such as pension funds. This has not gone unnoticed by the government.
"It would be crazy not to notice that there's been an increasing move into this market by private equity funds over recent years," says minister for children Tim Loughton.
"We need to make sure they are there for the right reasons, that they are providing a consistently good quality of care and expertise for the children who need it," he told the BBC.
Ann Coffey MP Head of parliamentary committee for missing children
Children's homes providing such care can charge up to £250,000 per year, per child - depending on the degree of support a child needs.
Sitting at the computer of MP Ann Coffey, head of the parliamentary group on missing children, she shows me an advert placed online by a children's home - one she knows has had problems with children running away:
"Homes are advertising very aggressively for children who are very damaged, who have histories of drug abuse, sexual abuse, alcohol abuse," she says.
She has been campaigning for many years about the poor quality of some children's homes, and is concerned about the way some actively "recruit" the most troubled children - possibly because they earn the highest fees.
"These homes are not offering to provide the resources to support that child," she says, "they're simply stating that they will accept these children. They expect the local authority in their area to provide the resources."
This means despite an already significant outlay by local authorities who pay fees to the homes, there could be additional costs to the NHS, schools and the police who have to respond to, say, anti-social behaviour incidents involving children who should be in the care of a home.
The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police Peter Fahy knows this too well - the north west of England has the highest concentration of children's homes in the country:
"We have had instances where young people go missing - sometimes hundreds of times," he says.
"If that person has been found, the children's home has minimal staffing and they can't release a member of staff to collect the child, and then they ask us to do the collection. It's not really our job... but we are the 24 hour service of last resort."
Dealing with missing children from residential homes is estimated to cost police in England £40m a year.
However, homes are not reaping big profits by cutting corners and passing the costs on to other parties, says Jonathan Stanley, chief executive of the Independent Children's Homes Association.
"The majority are small and solo providers [and] analysis of the current accounts of providers would tend to suggest that the levels of profits remain very low - in fact the return on investment is becoming a concern," he says.
Balancing the books is a daily struggle for the manager of one London home, I spoke to, which is currently caring for six teenagers. He tells me local authority cuts is why he has had to cut corners - not the search for higher profits.
Lowering staff wages has been one way he has managed to reduce overheads - and this, inevitably, has had an impact on the quality of care:
"Obviously, if you're paying low wages, you'll attract low quality people and we should really be looking at better qualified people to do a complex, difficult task," he says.
"You need proper qualified, motivated people... and if you're talking about how difficult these children are, how traumatised they are, why are we not getting the best people to work with them?"
The Independent Children's Homes Association says standards of care throughout the sector are high. It points to the fact that Ofsted, which is responsible for inspecting children's homes, found only 2% of homes were inadequate - although Ofsted's inspection criteria has recently been reviewed, and this figure is expected to jump significantly when new figures are published later this year.
And as the government announced this week, there will be a more far-reaching review of the whole children's home sector - including the involvement of private equity firms:
"I want the whole market of children's homes to be looked at rather more closely," says children's minister Tim Loughton, "because at the end of the day the most important thing is to make sure we have the best care for vulnerable children."
Hear more on this story on The Report on BBC Radio 4 Thursday 5, June at 20:00 BST.
You can listen again via the Radio 4 website or by downloading The Report podcast.
Right to Kill Anonymously
July 4, 2012 permalink
Phoenix Sinclair, who lived her life in and out of Manitoba foster care, died at the age of 5 in 2005. Following the conviction of her killers a public inquiry was called, but it has been delayed by legal action. The union representing social workers is demanding that the names of workers involved in the case be suppressed.
If the inquiry report identifies a worker only as worker two, we will never know anything about her beyond what the inquiry presents. But if the report names her as, say, Janet Kruger, the inquiry will find it hard to mislead the public by withholding information — the press will be able to locate the missing details. We will soon find out which is more worthy of protection: the reputation of social workers or the lives of children.
No-name inquiry: lawyer wants social worker IDs banned at dead child's hearing
WINNIPEG - Social workers who may have failed to protect a young girl from falling through the cracks of Manitoba's child-welfare system must be protected from being pilloried in the media, a union lawyer said Wednesday.
Garth Smorang, lawyer for the Manitoba Government Employees Union, is asking for a publication ban on the identities of social workers at an upcoming public inquiry into the horrific beating death of five-year-old Phoenix Sinclair in 2005.
"The media appears, Mr. Commissioner, to be no longer interested in the accuracy or the truth of the facts that it prints or publishes or broadcasts," Smorang told inquiry commissioner and retired judge Ted Hughes.
"It is primarily interested, in my respectful submission, in the sensationalisation of stories and the laying of blame."
The inquiry, slated to start in September, will look at how child welfare failed to protect Sinclair. She had spent most of her life in foster care but was returned to her mother, Samantha Kematch, in 2004. The girl suffered near-constant abuse by Kematch and the woman's boyfriend, Karl McKay.
While still under the supervision of Child and Family Services, Phoenix was frequently confined, shot with a BB gun, forced to eat her own vomit and neglected. She died after a brutal assault in the basement of the family's home on the Fisher River reserve north of Winnipeg.
A few months before her death, a social worker went to check on Sinclair and was told she was asleep. He saw a sibling playing outside who appeared healthy and decided that was enough.
Sinclair's death went undetected for nine months, and Kematch and McKay continued to claim benefits in her name. Eventually, a relative called police. The girl's body was found in a shallow grave and Kematch and McKay were convicted of first-degree murder.
The union that represents social workers has fought to limit the inquiry. It attempted earlier this year to have the death examined instead by a provincial court inquest, which is more limited in scope and lacks the power to subpoena witnesses.
That argument was rejected by the province's Court of Appeal.
The union is now pushing for a publication ban that would forbid the media from naming or taking pictures or video of any of the social workers who dealt with Sinclair.
Subjecting the workers to such media exposure would harm their ability to do their job, Smorang said. The exposure is also much more extreme with web sites and online comments, he added.
"Gone are the days when you're only infamous until garbage day, because on garbage day the papers get thrown out. Now when you're infamous, you're infamous in perpetuity," Smorang said.
"Social workers will become game for the bloody-minded."
Hughes asked Smorang whether a publication ban was the only option.
"Are there not other measures their employer could take to reduce the risk to workers — that is, remove them from the front line on a temporary basis or to provide counselling to them to cope with the stress and morale issues that arise?" Hughes asked.
Regional child welfare authorities are also asking for the publication ban. They say it should go even further. Their lawyer, Kris Saxberg pointed out that media are not allowed under provincial law to identify parties or witnesses in court cases involving child welfare. That includes parents, foster parents and others. He suggested the principle should be extended to the public inquiry.
"The status quo is confidentiality, the status quo is no public access," Saxberg said.
"We're not starting at the open-court principle. We're starting at the restrictions with respect to the public and with respect to the media that are always in place in every proceeding where the state is dealing with the protection of children."
But Hughes questioned the idea.
"Remember this is a public hearing. Maybe you don't think it is," the commissioner said.
Lawyers for several Winnipeg media outlets and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs are to argue against a publication ban on Thursday. The lawyer for Kim Edwards, the foster mother who cared for Phoenix Sinclair for much of her short life, will also argue against the ban.
Hughes is scheduled to give his decision July 12.
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
Application for secrecy denied.
Social workers' identities to be made public in Sinclair inquiry
Phoenix Sinclair died in 2005 in Fisher River. (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES)
An application for a publication ban on the identities of social workers involved in the care of slain child Phoenix Sinclair has been denied.
In a ruling delivered in written form Thursday morning, Judge Ted Hughes -- who is overseeing the inquiry -- said there will be no ban on audio or video of social workers testimony.
"A public inquiry is meant to educate and inform the public and it follows that permitting broadcasting of the inquiry proceedings would serve to fulfill that aspect of the inquiry's mandate," said the decision," wrote Hughes.
"Were I to restrict audio and video recording and broadcasting of the social workers' testimony in this inquiry, the result would be an inequality among members of the public in access to information about the proceedings."
The 57-page decision comes after days of arguments presented both for and against the ban.
Kim Edwards, Phoenix's former foster mother, who was against a ban, was emotional after the ruling, hugging people with her.
The application for a publication ban had been sought by the union representing social workers, the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union (MGEU).
However, that move was opposed by different parties, including media outlets such as the Free Press.
The ruling does not mean everyone participating in the hearing will be identified. In his ruling, Hughes said there are seven informants -- who are also known as sources of referral (SOR) -- involved in the case whose identities will not become public.
"The Media Group is not taking issue with a publication ban on the identities of SORs, but does reserve its right to bring an application for publication of identity if the evidence reveals that a particular witness played a material role apart from being an SOR," said Hughes, in his written decision.
In the decision, Hughes said "there has been no direct evidence from any of the applicants that would make the necessary link between identifying social workers in the media and increased risks to their personal safety."
"The case law indicates that there would need to be much stronger and more direct evidence of risks to personal safety than what has been filed in order to justify a publication ban on that basis," said Hughes, in his written decision.
"There is evidence filed by the applicants which speaks generally to social workers being concerned about their safety, but there is no evidence of specific incidents or statistics pointing to an increased risk to safety as a result of publicity. The nature of the evidence that has been offered is that some families have referenced the Phoenix Sinclair tragedy to some social workers in the course of their dealings with those families. No direct evidence was offered by any individual social worker being called to testify in this inquiry as to his or her personal circumstances."
Source: Winnipeg Free Press
July 4, 2012 permalink
A rally for accountability took place today in Dunnville Ontario. Canada Court Watch is using a new trifold (pdf) to hand to police at rallies.
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
Another photo with an interesting comment by Chris York shows why the trifold is useful.
Chris York CAS cringes everytime they see these photos because they have no idea the conversations taking place and never know when one of these officers will be agreeing with us. over the years we have had a number of police officers tell us they hate the CAS and wish they would be abolished and taken over by the government. they have even stated how they would love to be able to arrest some of these workers for crimes.
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
The local press reported.
Protesters say Ontario needs ombudsman
Some familiar faces hit the sidewalks in Dunnville on June 4 in order to collect signatures on their petition.
After receiving numerous requests from Dunnville citizens to return to the community, members and volunteers of Canada Court Watch returned to collect signatures and offer help.
The group made their first appearance in Dunnville in December 2011 when they protested against the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). This time they were back with more information.
A flyer being handed out to those interested in learning more stated “The province of Ontario is the only province in Canada that does not allow the Provincial Ombudsman, who is an officer of the Legislature, to provide trusted, independent investigations of complaints against hospitals, long term care homes, school boards, children’s aid societies, police, retirement homes and universities.”
The quarter-page flyer was concluded with “These services spend over $80 billion of Ontario Taxpayers money and have no oversight. Book a meeting with you local MPP and voice your concerns.”
Advocate Chris York believes Dunnville residents should be taking action for their own well being.
“The residents of Dunnville asked us to come back, the first time we were hear we were only scheduled to stay for two hours, but we ended up staying over five hours because of the local support the community showed,” explained York. “As it stands Ontario doesn’t have ombudsman oversight over a number of things such as municipalities, universities, schools, hospitals, long term care facilities – all of them are private agencies yet they receive government funding and they aren’t accountable to anybody.”
York offered an example which he believes should interest local residents.
“Long term care facilities should be a very important issues with the community of Dunnville because it is a retirement town, even my own grand parents lived here,” said York who added “government specifications for long term care facilities dictate that patients only require one diaper change per day – that’s disgusted, and unacceptable.
“Eventually their [the members of the public] relatives or themselves can end up in a long term care facility and no one wants to visit and see messy diapers and bed sores after spending their life building this community on their backs and paying taxes out of their pockets.”
York believes that politically they have the best chance ever to have their voice heard.
“Right now this is the best chance we have at getting these bills passed through the legislature because we have a minority government and we don’t have to worry about the liberals unanimously voting it down,” he said.
“It’s in the best interest of Ontario citizens across the province.”
A complaint was received by the Ontario Provincial Police with regards to the protest but upon arrival could not ask protestors to depart as they were not breaking any laws.
“It’s a public sidewalk so as long as we protest peacefully and do not obstruct traffic you do not need permission, and if you break those rules you take away from your credibility,” said York who admitted to having a good conversation with the officer who responded.
“The minute you violate them [the laws], you aren’t being looked at as a lawful protestor you look like a nuisance.”
The protestors spent almost five hours collecting signatures, while residents joined the protest.
The signatures were presented to the local Toby Barrett office at the Dunnville Chamber of Commerce at the end of their day.
Source: Dunnville Chronicle
An Ontario Family Devastated by Children's Aid Society
July 4, 2012 permalink
Curtis Kingston created and posted a video showing his family before its devastation by CAS. His narrative is enclosed, the video posted Febraury 26, 2012 is on YouTube and a local copy (mp4). Music: Home performed by Michael Bublé.
I was just looking through my videos again and saw this video that I had created while my three siblings where still being held hostage by the private corporate Children's Aid Society for the sole purpose of their own financial gain and I got a little emotional viewing it again but I figured I would post it again.
This video reflects on how my family was before the CA$ came in and destroyed us forever! These children were returned home on March 2nd 2012 against the societies wishes but this would have never happened had it not been for my families sheer determination and also a well educated advocate from Canada Court Watch by the name of Attila Vinczer and I will be forever grateful for the help that we received in this time of need.
Even though they have been returned home, this traumatic event has scared my family for the rest of our lives and because of the society I myself still to this day cannot see or have any contact with my siblings which is in fact almost unbearable in of itself but I know that eventually I will be able to see them again which makes me feel better.
For people that don't know, this is the reason that I have spent almost every waking moment of every day helping other children and families individually in dealing with these monsters!
I have taken allot of emotional and even physical hits recently on myself as a direct result of being an advocate but I have also had successes and every time that I have bad things happen because of this I just think of what happened to my family and how what I am doing is helping other families from preventing this to happening to them, getting children returned home and raising awareness in newspapers and television and in the end I am simply helping the cause the best way that I can so that one day, what happened to me and my family never happens to anyone ever again!
I will never give up and just stand on the sidelines and allow this to happen to other people. I have been putting my 110% best into trying to help and will not stop for anything and I will be forever grateful for all of the other great people who have been doing this allot longer than I have and I will continue to do my best no matter what happens.
Thanks everyone for all the great work that you all are doing for children and families!
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
Getting Even with Mom
July 3, 2012 permalink
A news report details the harassment meted out to a family with eight children by two Los Angeles DCFS workers, Juliet Macias and Eleanor Clements, after they were insulted by the mother. Los Angeles child dependency courts are now open to the public, so reporters were able to sit in on a court hearing in the case. Among the actions of the DCFS workers:
A spokesman for the court-appointed firm that represented the mother said there was nothing highly unusual about the level of retaliation in this case. Los Angeles DCFS has not acted to penalize the workers, but has moved in court to get the judge in the case disqualified from taking new cases. The mother lives in constant fear of the knock on the door.
County workers rebuked for misusing power in child welfare case
An L.A. County Superior Court judge says the social workers acted out of 'bad blood' to unravel a family's progress and put 8 children at risk of being retaken by the county.
The mother acknowledged she unleashed a bitter torrent of accusations against the social workers who took her children last year, calling incessantly to claim they were being abused in foster care.
But what the workers did in return has drawn a stern rebuke from a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge. Amy Pellman, a jurist with deep experience in the county's child welfare system, said they misused their power by retaliating and harassing the family.
After she affirmed a referee's decision to return the children to their mother, Pellman declared that the workers acted out of "bad blood" to unravel the family's progress and place the children at risk of being retaken by the county. "They told me they hate me just as much as I hate them," the mother said in an interview.
The mother, who spoke on the condition that her family not be identified in The Times out of fear that such a disclosure might prompt increased scrutiny, said she never felt more broken. "Every time there's a knock on the door, my heart skips a beat," she said. "It can go wrong so easily. I still carry the scars."
Social workers for the county Department of Children and Family Services often say they feel nearly helpless, managing high caseloads, struggling to meet minimum requirements for paperwork and visits, and too infrequently fulfilling the field's higher aspiration to perform a complex balance of dogged investigator and patient cheerleader so troubled families can eventually succeed.
Nevertheless, they wield enormous power over people at perhaps the most vulnerable point in their lives. They are able to impose intrusive restrictions and requirements on parents, and judges rely overwhelmingly on their reports to make decisions. When that power is abused, a family's already daunting recovery is made more difficult.
The family in this case had struggled with chronic homelessness for years, leaving the parents sometimes unable to meet their eight children's basic needs, and the father's alcoholism sometimes erupted in domestic violence.
But the family also had strengths. By the time the mother was reunited with her children in November, they had an apartment. The father complied with a stay-away order while receiving counseling and was willing to live in his car to save his construction earnings so the family could pay the rent. The children all earned straight-A's and excelled in sports and dance with their parents' support.
However, Pellman concluded that two social workers central to the case — neither of whom would comment for this report — maliciously contacted their landlord to say the mother and eight children were violating lease restrictions against so many living in the single-bedroom apartment. They were soon evicted.
The workers also contacted the school of one girl to say she no longer lived within its boundaries. The school initiated expulsion proceedings.
The family eventually won a special waiver to allow the girl to remain in the school. They also narrowly avoided sinking back into homelessness by using a savings account for one child's braces to pay a deposit for a new apartment set at the high cost of $4,000 because of the mother's poor credit.
"I don't know how we did it. I don't know how we survived," said the father.
Because of the father's order to remain outside the home during therapy, social workers subpoenaed apartment building security videos and made almost daily visits to ensure he was not living there. During one such visit, the children alleged that the workers improperly ordered them to disrobe in a common area to check for bruising.
Pellman's rebuke of the county's actions in the case was delivered in a hearing attended by The Times. Michael Nash, the presiding judge of Los Angeles County's juvenile courts, issued a blanket order allowing news coverage of previously confidential dependency courts this year.
The hearing was scheduled to consider financial sanctions against the department, and she noted that the social workers' actions occurred when the mother appeared to be finally succeeding against the odds.
"You are there to support this family, not harass them," Pellman told case supervisor Juliet Macias and social worker Eleanor Clements at the hearing. "If a parent is being nasty or obnoxious or disrespectful then you are the professionals, right? You are not to respond in kind, OK?"
Pellman's use of the sanctions process is a judicial power that judges have increasingly exercised in recent years against the department. From 2010 to 2011, sanctions nearly doubled from $25,000 to $48,000, most often because of late or missing court-ordered reports on some of the 35,000 children under the department's oversight.
Pellman has two decades of experience in child welfare and once led the highly regarded Alliance for Children's Rights, using her position as legal director to press the county to conduct more frequent visits to children removed from their families and placed in foster care.
In this case, she decided she was unable to impose sanctions because she said the retaliation likely violated the department's own policies, not one of her court orders.
Still, she said she hoped the proceeding would provoke "soul searching." If she had sent the case file to DCFS Director Philip Browning, she said, "frankly, I think he would be concerned."
Browning's spokesman, Armand Montiel, said the department has launched an internal affairs investigation. "I can say clearly and unequivocally that any form of retaliation, biased or disparate treatment of any parent or child in our caseloads by a social worker is against our practices and will not be tolerated," he said.
"Judge Pellman is correct that the actions as described would be very disappointing to Mr. Browning," Montiel said. "They would also be disappointing to all of our social workers who provide caring and effective services to our children and families."
So far, however, the more visible response has been against Pellman. County lawyers who represent the department have moved to disqualify her from taking new cases.
At Pellman's May 17 hearing to consider sanctions, Deputy County Counsel Anthony Peck argued that the judge was biased, and he suggested she take a recess to read the case file more fully. The calls to the landlord and the school, Peck said, were simply intended to find the family, make sure the children were safe and ensure compliance with the order barring the father from living in the home.
Marlene Furth, director of the court-appointed firm that represented the mother, rejected that account and called it an "outrageous case" of retaliation that she sees too often. It is "not a daily occurrence, but it is also not highly unusual," she said in an interview.
"The problem that exists," she said, "is that there are very very many dedicated workers and they work extraordinarily hard to reunify families, and then there are many workers who don't — either because they are burned out, overworked or reached a point where they don't care."
Pellman said in an interview that she sympathized with social workers. "This conflict between being the policeman and the social worker is really difficult for people, and it's a very complex emotional position."
"I believe," she said, "that some of the social workers who are hired are very young and not as educated and not as culturally sensitive and worldly, shall we say. It's really difficult for them to be ready for this complex job."
On June 12, court referee Robert Stevenson held a hearing to terminate the county's oversight of the family, and he applauded the family's progress. Peck was overruled when he argued that the family should remain under the department's active watch because the father continued to pose a threat of domestic violence.
"I believe that for some reason this case has had a life of its own," Stevenson said. "It's unfortunate but we're ready to cut it out right now. Just understand," he said to the parents, "that the department will be at some point trying to evaluate your situation. You need to be aware of that."
The mother said she was.
"Look, I have eight kids and we live in deep poverty," she said in an interview. "I know someone is going to call DCFS at some point out of misguided concern, and I'm sure my name will pop up on their computer in red."
Source: Los Angeles Times
July 2, 2012 permalink
Richard Wexler, in a blog post about overuse of psychiatric medicines for foster children, ends with a quiz. See if you can solve it.
A reminder of why this issue really is not complex comes this week in a superb dissection of child welfare in New York City, published in the New York Review of Books. (Most of it is behind a paywall, but it’s well worth the $4.99).
The story also includes this case example, which will be followed by a pop quiz:
[A] mother who was in a drug treatment program lost her child after a single relapse. For a while, mother and daughter were allowed to meet regularly at a desolate Bronx foster care agency beside a gravel yard where garbage blew around like tumbleweeds.
One day, when the child appeared with a black eye somehow acquired in her foster home, the mother became hysterical, and the police were called. The child was placed in a new foster home, but after that, mother and daughter spiraled into madness.
While scrambling to assemble court documents, the mother managed to obtain the original report filed when her daughter was first taken away. This document, signed by the New York State commissioner for children and family services, states that the original allegation of neglect was “unfounded”—aside from the single drug relapse, the report said the child was well taken care of.
Nevertheless, because of the mother’s angry outbursts, she lost her parental rights last February. Her daughter, now eight and taking four psychotropic medications to control her behavior—including one that can cause irreversible catatonia and drooling—is, the mother told me, up for adoption.
So, here’s your pop quiz: What would have been the best way to prevent this girl from winding up “taking four psychotropic medications to control her behavior—including one that can cause irreversible catatonia and drooling.”
Source: Richard Wexler blog