Unbiased Reporting

What I post on this Blog does not mean I agree with the articles or disagree. I call it Unbiased Reporting!

Isabella Brooke Knightly and Austin Gamez-Knightly

Isabella Brooke Knightly and Austin Gamez-Knightly
In Memory of my Loving Husband, William F. Knightly Jr. Murdered by ILLEGAL Palliative Care at a Nashua, NH Hospital

Monday, November 30, 2009

Evaluation of CASA Representation

Prolonging foster care: The study that the CASA Puppets doesn’t want you to see


What if Poor Parents Got the Money We Now Give to Foster Parents?

Part III:
Sunday, November 29, 2009
By Robert Franklin, Esq.
Many times before, I've expressed my trepidations about how various issues regarding children have served to enormously expand state power into private lives. Perhaps no single thing serves this purpose better than the phrase "the best interests of the child." Beneath that banner have marched countless courts, judges, social workers, psychologists, police and child welfare agencies. Inappropriate expansion of state power over family life was the primary concern of Joseph Goldstein, Anna Freud and Albert Solnit, in their 1979 book, "Before the Best Interests of the Child." There they clearly expressed their skepticism about the ability of governments to provide better care than do parents.

But when it comes to expansion of power, governments don't often listen to the voice of reason or moderation. The simple fact is that, given an opportunity, or indeed just an excuse, governments tend to add to their power if they can. That's been proven to be true in family life over the past 40 years or so. Once relatively sacrosanct, the family is now fair game.

As I've written countless times, families find themselves fighting costly tooth-and-nail battles to keep custody of their children over the most trivial and absurd issues. One case in point was the family I wrote about not long ago who committed the unforgiveable sin of photographing their five-year-old girls in the bathtub. Quicker than you can say "It takes a village," the kids were in foster care where they stayed for two months. It cost the parents some $70,000 to wrest control back from the state.

If the "best interests of the child" is the excuse for this vast expansion of state power, the mechanism is money. For every child placed in foster care, and for every day it remains there, a foster parent is paid by the state. Rates vary of course, but, just as one example, the "base" rate paid in Maine for a child with no disabilities, was $500/month in 2008. Some of that is paid by the state and some by the federal government. Whatever you think about the daily, per-child stipends, it's a certainty that there wouldn't be many foster parents without them.

To expand its power, the state needs to make it worth people's while, and payments for foster care do just that. Just to make the purpose of all this clear, civil rights attorney Catherine Campbell pointed out in 2000 that the great majority of children taken by the state and placed in the foster care system were poor. Given that,

If the parents of these children were provided with the same monthly income received by a foster parent, most of their problems would vanish.

Whatever the literal truth of that statement, she makes a good point - as long as the state is spending money on these children, why not give it to the parents instead of to strangers?

Often, children placed in foster care are those of single mothers. That means the state has to make some cursory show of due process of law before separating a the child from its mother. But fathers without custody of their children don't even get that, minimal though it is. An Urban Institute study showed child welfare workers trouble themselves to even contact barely half of the fathers of children they intend to place in care. That's true even though they know the identity of the dad in almost 90% of cases.

Money feeds the beast of state power and "the best interests of the child" is the battle hymn of the republic.

Help for Michigan Dads
Michigan family law attorney Mindy L. Hitchcock has experience fighting for noncustodial parents against Michigan's abusive FOC. Her holistic approach to divorce gets results for her clients while avoiding the scorched earth approach to law that leaves families emotionally and financially devastated. Lady4Justice.com

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 29th, 2009 at 9:59 am and is filed under blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. | 161 views | Trackback | Print this page |


CPS Does Not Always Follow The Law (How About Never)

Sunday, November 29, 2009 Swnator Pam Roach Blogspot

In My Opinion...CPS Does Not Always Follow The Law

Reader Ron writes:

"In my dealings with CPS I've only seen them responsive to two things. Court decisions and the law. They are hyper- sensitive to law suits. If laws are passed to hold them accountable they will obey." {sic}

Ron...for Pete's sake! They are successfully sued because they DO NOT always follow the law. And, for Pete's sake, Ron, they repeat their errors! The courts may, once in a while, hold then accountable but they are hardly repentant. They do sin again!

(You see only your family's case. You saw an unresponsive department that was not breaking the law. It was frustrating for you. But, there are many out there who are wronged by the department. For them a child is killed in foster care or by an evil parent. Or, their child is stolen for "gifting" to a more "desirable" adopt situation. These are not "fix it" situations. Consider yourself lucky. But open your eyes to the abuses of the system.)
Posted by State Senator Pam Roach at 10:00

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Petition for DCYF/CPS Reform

Please go to the link and sign

CPS reform
Sign the Petition : 2,883 Letters and Emails Sent So Far
Nationwide, there are State run agencies who are supposed to be protecting abused children in dangerous situations. Each State has many different titles for them. All of them are main stapled as CPS (Child Protective Services). For example, in Texas they're known as DFPS. (Department of Family and Protective Services)

While there is an important need to find abused children and to protect them, the current system is only finding a small percentage of those truly abused children. The rest of their statistics that guarantee a high departmental income are from families who never abused their children. Where they get this income and the sources of information will be posted after the next paragraph.

I am not calling for an abolishment of CPS. What I am petitioning for is an overhaul and restructure to bring them in line with lawful investigation practices, to maintain Constitutional Rights and proper training for Agents who never had children, and psychological evaluations to find and replace the Agents who were themselves abused as Children and see abuse in every home regardless of the situation. This is not, I repeat, not a rare occurrence. I will supply statistics to support this and how this has escalated. I will also supply the sources.

Departmental income has become more important to CPS and their offices than actually finding abused children and protecting them. Each and every time they remove a child from the home, they get paid from the Federal Government. Here they are:

1. Public Law 93-247 known as the Mondale Act of 1974.

2. Public Law 96-272 known as the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980

3. Social Security Title IV-E funds.

The ASFA- Public Law 105-89 known as American Safe Families Act of 1997 is one of the most horrific laws on the books today. While it sounds nice in the title, when you get through the legal jargon, what this means is so wrong. If you ever had a child removed from your house by CPS, even UNFOUNDED and you are innocent, they will take that child in minutes after the child is born! Babies are highly adoptable and the Federal Government pays out $6,000 to the CPS office who conducts the legal kidnapping and gets them adopted quickly without regards to the biological Mother and her family. Since she was investigated once, they do this in the "best interests of the child" as she is a "potential" abuser.

The largest targeted type of families are folks with low incomes, children on SSI and are minorities. If you even have one of those three issues, you are a target for CPS to illegally investigate you. While these things are a surefire magnet, they have been known to do illegal investigations against families if they were reported falsely with malicious intent. Example is an ex-wife wants to get even with her ex-husband and his new family, she could report them and put them through Hell.

Why are the reasons CPS Agents actually find so little true abuse?

1. Agents who never had children and don't understand that a few toys in the corner of the room is not a hazardous mess.

2. Agents are not trained in real evidence recognition. In fact, no Agent in CPS has any training in evidence, the Constitution or criminal justice. They are given anywhere from 3 to 6 months of training, being taught that it is ok to break into a Home without probable cause or exigent circumstances.

3. Agents are trained to use subjective speculation and not objective factual reporting.

4. The Agents do not get psychological evaluations. A number of Agents who were abused as a child themselves see abuse in every home they go into, even if it's not there.

5. Most States do not require Agents to have a degree in Social Sciences. Any degree will do, doesn't even have to be related to the field.

6. The Agency has no checks and balances. A field Agent can lie to a judge or police officer with absolutely no proof and have it entered as factual evidence in a court of law!

7. Agents are trained to believe they are immune from the authority of the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Sixth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment. They violate this in every investigation done nationwide.

Here are the statistics and sources to support these facts:

Number of Cases per 100,000 children in the United States. These numbers come from The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) in Washington.

CPS- Physical Abuse (160) Sexual Abuse (112) Neglect (410) Medical Neglect (14) Fatalities (6.4)

Parents- Physical Abuse (59) Sexual Abuse (13) Neglect (241) Medical Neglect (12) Fatalities (1.5)

As you can see, children are abused far more in care than at home. The calculated average is for every 1 abused child removed from an abusive home, there are 17 unabused children removed from loving non-offending homes nationwide.

Constitutional Violations and Court Rulings that CPS Ignores to this very day!

1. It's unconstitutional for CPS to conduct an investigation and interview a child on private property without exigent circumstances or probable cause. - Doe et al, v. Heck et al (No. 01-3648, 2003 US App. Lexis 7144)

2. All CPS workers in the United States are subject to the 4th and 14th Amendment - Walsh v. Erie County Dept. of Job and Family Services, 3:01-cv-7588

3. Police officers and social workers are not immune for coercing or forcing entry into a person's home without a search warrant. Calabretta v. Floyd (9th Cir. 1999)

4. The mere possibility of danger does not constitute an emergency or exigent circumstance that would justify a forced warrantless entry and a warrantless seizure of a child. Hurlman v. Rice (2nd Cir. 1991)

5. Police officer and social worker may not conduct a warrantless search or seizure in a suspected child abuse case absent exigent circumstances. Defendants must have reason to believe that life or limb is in immediate jeopardy and that the intrusion is reasonable necessary to alleviate the threat. Searches and seizures in investigation of a child neglect or child abuse case at a home are governed by the same principles as other searches and seizures at a home. Goodv. Dauphin County Social Services (3rd Cir. 1989)

6. The Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures extends beyond criminal investigations and includes conduct by social workers in the context of a child neglect/abuse investigation. Lenz v. Winburn (11th Cir. 1995)

7. Making false statements made to obtain a warrant, when the false statements were necessary to the finding of probable cause on which the warrant was based, violates the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement. Aponte Matos v. Toledo Davilla (1st Cir. 1998)

What can be done to change this for a better, more healthy Child Protection System?

I. Child Abuse is a Crime, not a touchy feely civil complaint and should be investigated as a crime.

II. Have the abuse allegations investigated by a Detective or Police Officer, who are trained for this as a career, whereas CPS workers are not. All investigations are joint ones with said Officers of the Law and with warrants properly issues under probable cause.

III. Re-train Agents to respect and obey the laws of the Constitution of the United States. If a family is guilty of abuse, a legal investigation will find it.

IV. Repeal the Mondale Act, Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act, Title IV-E rewards to CPS from Social Security and the American Safe Families Act. Remember, they are not what the title sounds like and has been the root core of many loving homes losing their children to a system that will abuse them.

V. Make CPS legally investigate those who sign up to be foster parents. They do not do this today, and many foster parent who want the money for fostering them are actually child abusers who never get caught!

VI. All interviews to be audio and video recorded just like it happens with the police!

VII. Hold CPS Agents and foster parents and the records keeper responsible for every child who vanishes or dies in their care for their location.

VIII. Also investigate the person or persons reporting the abuse, and if done maliciously with intent to disrupt a family, prosecute the reporter to the fullest extent of the Law regarding making false claims to Government Agencies to affect an unnecessary and costly investigation.

IX. Abuse is a Crime, guarantee the accused retain their right to face their accusers in a court of law. As the system currently is, this is not done.

X. The Children are to be tracked on a weekly basis, so no more children vanish in the system.

XI. If a disabled, mentally retarded or sick Child is put into Foster Care, the Child's current Physician will need to provide a copy of the diagnosis and treatment, and medications, if any, will be provided as prescribed by the Physician. All appointments must be kept while in Foster Care. Any violations without a very good reason will result in the Foster Parents losing their certification for Foster Care.

XII. If a Foster Child dies while in Foster Care, there will be an Investigation by the FBI and all parties responsible for the Death of a Child will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

XIII. There will be a National Database where all known abusers are recorded and can be accessed by Law Enforcement. Everyone who is found not guilty won't have their Convictions and Abuse Reports listed. It will be illegal to keep records of any sort on innocent individuals or families. If they are convicted in a court of law by a jury of their peers, then the report of abuse they are guilty of will be the only report listed.

Currently, none of this is done, and innocent families who are not guilty of anything are losing their Children based on the word of others where there is no burden of proof for Prosecution, for the sake of getting Federal Funds for tens of thousands of dollars. The few truly abused children are ending up in a system where they are worse off than where they came from, even to the extent of being killed. Also, the innocent children who are never abused are also killed.

Injustice against one American is injustice against all Americans. Help us put the Justice back into Child Protective Services and get them focused on finding and saving abused children. It's time we removed them from the profitable business of tearing loving non-offending families apart.

Social Work College of Health and Human Services-Students Required to Work For DCYF-So Much for Licensed Social Workers!

Child Welfare Training Grant
In order to promote professional education for child welfare workers, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services/Division for Children, Youth and Families (NH-DCYF) and the UNH Department of Social Work are collaborating to offer Social Work students an opportunity to focus their education and future employment in the area of Child Welfare. The Child Welfare Training Grant, Title IV-E Project, seeks to:

equip selected BSW and MSW students with knowledge, skills, values, and cultural/ethnic competency to become effective public child welfare workers in New Hampshire,
increase the number of BSW and MSW graduates employed by the Division for Children, Youth and Families,
develop curriculum and training resources to support the practice of New Hampshire Child Protective workers.
Benefits to students include:
Full in-state tuition
a stipend of $3000 (MSW) or $2500 (BSW)
access to Child Welfare training and resources

Interested students will need to:

provide three letters of recommendation,
provide a 2-4 page essay describing their experiences, motivation, and career plans related to Child Protection,
be available to be interviewed by the Child Welfare Grant Committee.

DCYF employees are eligible to apply.Immediately following graduation, students are required to work for eighteen months at NH-DCYF for each year that they are funded by the Title IV-E project. The employment site will be determined by NH-DCYF.
Copyright 2003-2009, University of New Hampshire, College of Health and Human Services.
All rights reserved. 217 Hewitt Hall, 4 Library Way, Durham, New Hampshire 03824
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Last Updated Thursday, 27-Mar-2008 16:45:39 EDT

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

CPS/DCYF Crimes against Children An Investigative Report

CPS/DCYF admit taking a child is all about the money. Please watch this video

The 'Best Interests of the Child' Concept - Misused from the Beginning

November 28th, 2009 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
Even the casual observer of family law and practice can be struck by the astonishing, er, flexibility of the term "best interests of the child." For example, in 1995, a New Mexico court approved of the outright theft of a child by an adoption agency and his subsequent placement with an adoptive couple as in the "best interests of the child."

The boy had lived with the mother and father for all his year and a half of life. One weekend when the father was out of town working, the mother took the child to the adoption agency, lied about the father's whereabouts and gave the child up for adoption. Two days later, the father informed the adoption agency that he had no intention of giving up the child. But the agency kept the child with the adoptive parents anyway and let the glacial pace of the judicial system do the rest.

A year and a half later, the child was deemed to have "bonded" with the adoptive parents and the father was out of luck. The "best interests of the child," you understand, meant that breaking those new bonds was impermissible. At the same time, the "best interests of the child" did permit breaking the bonds between the father and the child. That's what I mean when I say the concept is "flexible."

The conduct of the mother and the agency violated New Mexico civil law, and the father sued them and won a judgment for monetary damages. Those damages were never paid as the agency receded behind the impenetrable veil of bankruptcy.

Given the mutability of the 'best interests' standard, it's interesting to know a little of its history. In 1973, Joseph Goldstein, Anna Freud and Albert Solnit published a book that would have enormous influence on family courts and child protective agencies nationwide, albeit not the one they intended. They were, respectively, a law professor at Yale, a child psychologist and a researcher at the Child Study Center at Yale. Their book was entitled "Beyond the Best Interests of the Child." It was an effort to guide courts and placement agencies that had to decide issues of family dissolution and child custody about how best to do that.

But by 1979, the same authors were so horrified at the misuse of their book by those very courts and child protective agencies that they wrote another one entitled "Before the Best Interests of the Child."

With their first book, they meant well; they truly didn't anticipate the distortions to which judges, social workers and child welfare agencies would subject its message. In it, they were dealing only with cases in which a family had already broken down and required intervention by the state to protect the children. The authors limited their discussion to that. The "best interests of the child" concept was discussed solely as a goal to be obtained after family breakdown.

But the courts and other state agencies had no intention of limiting their use of the book's concepts in the same way the authors did. In direct contradiction to the authors' intentions, states began using the "best interests of the child" concept to achieve family breakdown by state intervention and removal of the children.

That's what horrified the authors and prompted them to publish "Before the Best Interests of the Child" in 1979. Here's what they said:

[W]e believe that a child's need for continuity of care by autonomous parents requires acknowledging that parents should generally be entitled to raise their children as they think best, free of state interference. This conviction finds expression in our preference for minimum state intervention and prompts restraint in defining justifications for coercively intruding on family relationships...

So long as a child is a member of a functioning family, his paramount interest lies in the preservation of his family. Thus our preference for making a child's interests paramount is not to be construed as a justification in and of itself for intrusion. (Emphasis in the original.)

I'll write a bit more on this later, but remember what the authors said: the child's "paramount interests lies in the preservation of his family."

It's a concept that escaped the New Mexico courts back in 1995, even as it continues to escape so many today.

This entry was posted on Saturday, November 28th, 2009 at 1:24 pm and is filed under Family Law, Children's Rights, Child Protective Services/Child Welfare System.


NH sees greater need for special ed services -I wonder why!

Saturday, November 28, 2009
By SARAH PALERMO Keene Sentinel

AMANDA BOROZINSKI / Sentinel Staff Teacher Allison A. Carr reads a book to her class in the Symonds School learning center in Keene. She is working with the students on vocabulary and story structure. Enlarge

AMANDA BOROZINSKI / Sentinel Staff Using dice, Jonathan Durrant works on adding two numbers. Using her hands, teacher Nancy Elliott demonstrates how to count the sum of the dice. Last year in the Granite State, 13.8 percent of students needed special education services. . Enlarge

AMANDA BOROZINSKI / Sentinel Staff Teacher Allison A. Carr reads a book to her class in the Symonds School learning center in Keene. She is working with the students on vocabulary and story structure.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is part of a three-day package by the Keene Sentinel about special education in the state’s southwestern corner.

Peek into the big room off the main hallway in Symonds Elementary School in Keene.

Two beanbag chairs slouch in one corner, ready for quiet reading time. Someone drew wild circles on the paper tacked to the easel in the middle of the room.

This is Symonds’ learning center. Every elementary school in Keene has a learning center; it’s where students with special educational needs work in small groups with teachers such as Allison A. Carr and Nancy A. Elliott.

Roughly one in five students in the Keene School District receives special education services, slightly more than the national average, which has steadily grown since special education became law in 1975.

Some students’ reading troubles might leave them bewildered and overwhelmed in a large class.

One of Carr’s students needs a squishy rubber cushion on his seat during reading time, so he can fidget by shifting his weight, without moving his whole body around and disrupting the other students. Another has a ball to hold and squeeze under the table, to keep his hands busy so they don’t wander and cause distractions.

What unique services these students need in order to learn is something Carr, Elliott and other special education teachers try to work out over time.

Why these children are part of a growing population is a more complicated question. Education officials have theories, but are quick to point out that they don’t know for certain.

Changing diagnosis dynamic

In 1975, the federal government passed the first special-education law, which would eventually become the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

At the time, most people assumed it would affect only the most dramatically disabled children, the ones living in state institutions or kept home their entire lives.

The first year students with disabilities were included in public schools, they represented about 8 percent of the nation’s school population.

That increased to 10 percent by 1980, 11 percent by 1990 and 13.6 percent by 2006 – an increase of nearly 3 million special education students over 35 years.

Last year in the Granite State, 13.8 percent of students needed special education services like those provided in the Symonds learning center, one of several in the district. That’s up from 12.9 percent in 2000.

Between 17 and 20 percent of students in the Keene School District receive special education services. On the first day of school, 776 of the district’s 3,700 students received some kind of special education services, according to Reeves.

It’s not that the laws or regulations are rewritten every time a new disorder is identified.

Conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder, autism and emotional problems have always been covered under the law.

Schools have also always been required to provide related services – things like speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy – to help kids meet their educational goals.

“What’s changed is society’s attitude toward disabilities, and the school’s ability to pinpoint a problem,” said Catherine L. Reeves, director of special education for New Hampshire School Administrative Unit 29, which serves Keene, Chesterfield, Harrisville, Marlow, Marlborough, Nelson and Westmoreland school districts.

A better understanding

The past three decades have brought a “broadening and clarifying of definitions” of student disabilities, Reeves said. And as evaluations have improved, she said, “we know more and we are better able to diagnose disabilities.”

In the past, learning disabilities were often diagnosed based on statistical discrepancies. Students were given tests in isolated, quiet rooms, and if they scored within a certain range, they were diagnosed with a certain disability.

Under those conditions, kids fell through the cracks, Reeves said.

For starters, children usually perform better during formal testing, where they’re one-on-one with the tester in a distraction-free room, than they perform in the everyday classroom, Reeves said.

“So, students who have problems in a regular classroom were performing just well enough (in the testing situations) to disqualify themselves for services. The process didn’t take into account their actual performance in the classroom.”

If students scored too high on the test, educators were unable to provide services to them, even though they obviously needed help, she said.

Evaluations today take into account whether a child can learn in a classroom setting, or whether there’s something holding him or her back.

Tests are still administered, and precautions are taken to be sure the problem isn’t just a situation, like being bullied.

Other factors can influence the numbers of students needing services, and some start years before the students set foot in a classroom or an evaluator’s office.

The United States’ infant mortality rate has fallen dramatically over the past several decades, from 26 per 1,000 live births in 1960 to 6.9 per 1,000 in 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

“A decreasing infant mortality rate means many things,” Reeves said. “It means mothers are receiving better prenatal care and giving birth in cleaner facilities than in centuries past. It also means more disabled babies are surviving when in the past, they might not have lived more than a few hours or days.”

Dr. Geraldine Rubin, chairman of the pediatrics department at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene, agrees.

Some infants, especially those born months early, wouldn’t have survived if they were born a generation ago, she said. Today, they eventually show up at preschool.

Beyond the classroom

Increased awareness of disabilities makes parents and teachers more likely to refer a child for evaluation, experts say.

“Once you develop clinical language and it becomes part of the culture, then you’re going to start to see more and more of it,” said MacLean Gander, a professor and former vice president at Landmark College.

Landmark, founded in the early 1980s in Putney, Vt., bills itself partly as the “premier college for students with learning disabilities.”

Today more than ever, parents are alert to the possibility that their child’s fidgeting, poor concentration and low grades might not be the results of laziness or a lack of motivation, but symptoms of a neurological, developmental or emotional disability, Gander said.

In years past, a learning-disabled student might have been yelled at and disciplined until he dropped out of school. Today, he might have one session a day in the learning center, or with a counselor.

Emotional or behavioral counseling is, to some, unrelated to education. Behavioral problems should be treated at home, they say. But it’s a special education service that’s been part of the law for 35 years.

A federal measure passed in 1975 required each state to establish guidelines for public school special education.

Previously, New Hampshire’s special education law said schools had to help students with “serious” emotional disturbances. Today, the law includes all children with emotional difficulties that impede their ability to learn.

The new language doesn’t change the eligibility criteria, though.

The emotional problem in question still needs to be severe enough to interrupt a child’s education. He or she still follows the multi-step eligibility process before an “individual education plan” is written and services are provided on a regular basis.

Keene Co-Superintendent William B. Gurney remembers being in school and seeing students who misbehaved being sent to the principal’s office time after time for disrupting class.

Some of those students found school so alienating they dropped out as soon as possible. Now that New Hampshire state law says students must stay in school until they’re 18, leaving isn’t an option.

Today, parents and school officials know better how to apply the protections of special education laws to all students who are entitled to them.

“Kids with a behavioral problem were marginalized. Now the understanding is these kids should have an equal chance to be productive members of society and if it’s a matter of us giving them more services, that’s what we owe them,” he said.

“We only have them 6 hours a day, but we have a responsibility to keep them safe in an environment to learn to the best of their potential. Hopefully we’re doing it.”

Finally, there’s the effect of the recession. Stress outside the classroom – Did she get a good breakfast? Does she have warm, clean clothes today? How was the morning bus ride? – can be enough to tip a young child’s emotional state from “ready to learn” to “shutdown mode.”

More and more kids are at that tipping point this year, said Elliott, one of Symonds’ special education teachers.


NH DCYF Court and Legal Handbook

Well worth reading. Especially for the people who have no clue what parents are up against when thrown into the arena with DCYF and the court system.

The New World Disorder


United Nations' threat: No more parental rights
Expert: Pact would ban spankings, homeschooling if children object

Posted: February 05, 2009
12:00 am Eastern

By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A United Nations human rights treaty that could prohibit children from being spanked or homeschooled, ban youngsters from facing the death penalty and forbid parents from deciding their families' religion is on America's doorstep, a legal expert warns.

Michael Farris of Purcellville, Va., is president of ParentalRights.org, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association and chancellor of Patrick Henry College. He told WND that under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, or CRC, every decision a parent makes can be reviewed by the government to determine whether it is in the child's best interest.

"It's definitely on our doorstep," he said. "The left wants to make the Obama-Clinton era permanent. Treaties are a way to make it as permanent as stuff gets. It is very difficult to extract yourself from a treaty once you begin it. If they can put all of their left-wing socialist policies into treaty form, we're stuck with it even if they lose the next election."

The 1990s-era document was ratified quickly by 193 nations worldwide, but not the United States or Somalia. In Somalia, there was then no recognized government to do the formal recognition, and in the United States there's been opposition to its power. Countries that ratify the treaty are bound to it by international law.

Although signed by Madeleine Albright, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., on Feb. 16, 1995, the U.S. Senate never ratified the treaty, largely because of conservatives' efforts to point out it would create that list of rights which primarily would be enforced against parents.

The international treaty creates specific civil, economic, social, cultural and even economic rights for every child and states that "the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration." While the treaty states that parents or legal guardians "have primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child," Farris said government will ultimately determine whether parents' decisions are in their children's best interest. The treaty is monitored by the CRC, which conceivably has enforcement powers.

According to the Parental Rights website, the substance of the CRC dictates the following:

Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.
A murderer aged 17 years, 11 months and 29 days at the time of his crime could no longer be sentenced to life in prison.
Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion.
The best interest of the child principle would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent's decision.
A child's "right to be heard" would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.
According to existing interpretation, it would be illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children's welfare.
Children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure.
Teaching children about Christianity in schools has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.
Allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.
Children would have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent.
(Story continues below)

"Where the child has a right fulfilled by the government, the responsibilities shift from parents to the government," Farris said. "The implications of all this shifting of responsibilities is that parents no longer have the traditional roles of either being responsible for their children or having the right to direct their children."

Michael Farris

The government would decide what is in the best interest of a children in every case, and the CRC would be considered superior to state laws, Farris said. Parents could be treated like criminals for making every-day decisions about their children's lives.

"If you think your child shouldn't go to the prom because their grades were low, the U.N. Convention gives that power to the government to review your decision and decide if it thinks that's what's best for your child," he said. "If you think that your children are too young to have a Facebook account, which interferes with the right of communication, the U.N. gets to determine whether or not your decision is in the best interest of the child."

He continued, "If you think your child should go to church three times a week, but the child wants to go to church once a week, the government gets to decide what it thinks is in the best interest of the children on the frequency of church attendance."

He said American social workers would be the ones responsible for implementation of the policies.

Farris said it could be easier for President Obama to push for ratification of the treaty than it was for the Clinton administration because "the political world has changed."

At a Walden University presidential debate last October, Obama indicated he may take action.

"It's embarrassing to find ourselves in the company of Somalia, a lawless land," Obama said. "I will review this and other treaties to ensure the United States resumes its global leadership in human rights."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been a strong supporter of the CRC, and she now has direct control over the treaty's submission to the Senate for ratification. The process requires a two-thirds vote.

Farris said Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., claimed in a private meeting just before Christmas that the treaty would be ratified within two years.

In November, a group of three dozen senior foreign policy figures urged Obama to strengthen U.S. relations with the U.N. Among other things, they asked the president to push for Senate approval of treaties that have been signed by the U.S. but not ratified.

Partnership for a Secure America Director Matthew Rojansky helped draft the statement. He said the treaty commands strong support and is likely to be acted on quickly, according to an Inter Press Service report.

While he said ratification is certain to come up, Farris said advocates of the treaty will face fierce opposition.

"I think it is going to be the battle of their lifetime," he said. "There's not enough political capital in Washington, D.C., to pass this treaty. We will defeat it."

UN Population Fund Leader Says Family Breakdown is a Triumph for Human Rights

February 3,2009
United Nations Population Fund Leader Says Family Breakdown is a Triumph for Human Rights

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

MEXICO CITY, February 3, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A leader in the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has declared that the breakdown of traditional families, far from being a “crisis,” is actually a triumph for human rights.

Speaking at a colloquium held last month at Colegio Mexico in Mexico City, UNFPA representative Arie Hoekman denounced the idea that high rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births represent a social crisis, claiming that they represent instead the triumph of “human rights” against “patriarchy.”

"In the eyes of conservative forces, these changes mean that the family is in crisis," he said. "In crisis? More than a crisis, we are in the presence of a weakening of the patriarchal structure, as a result of the disappearance of the economic base that sustains it and because of the rise of new values centered in the recognition of fundamental human rights."

"Day after day, Mexico experiences a process of this diversity and there are those who understand it as a crisis, because they only recognize one type of family," one of the speakers on the panel also told the audience.

The comments followed close on the heels of the World Meeting of Families, which was held in Mexico City in January, and which strongly reaffirmed the importance of the traditional family and its indispensible role in transmitting values to the next generation. It was opened by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who observed that high rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births were contributing to the rise of violence and crime in Mexico.

Leonardo Casco, a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family and a citizen of Honduras, told LifeSiteNews that he wasn't surprised that the UNFPA was denying the crisis in the family.

"They definitely have to deny that there is a crisis in the family, because they have created the crisis," he said.

Calling the UNFPA "bureaucrats at the service of death," Casco observed that "after 45 years of birth control, the pill, disrespect for marriage for the family, for children, etc, this is the result. Because of that we have violence, war, lack of respect of women, children."

Through their promotion and distribution of contraceptives the UNFPA has become "a birth control agency at the service of the most powerful countries" said Casco. "They have destroyed the family, values, this is undeniable, it's what everyone says ... but they always have to deny it."

Regarding Hoekman’s comments about “human rights,” Casco responded that UNFPA bureaucrats “have invented a series of new 'human rights',” that did not exist when the concept was defined in 1948, “with which they wish to justify all of their actions.”

The UNFPA recently celebrated the restoration of US support after seven years, during which they were denied funding by the Bush administration. UNFPA has cooperated with and even helped to subsidize China's One Child Policy, which persecutes and performs forced abortions on women who have more than one child.

In addition to its support for forced abortions, the UNFPA has helped to administer forced sterilizations in South America and is involved in the distribution and promotion of contraceptives and sterilization worldwide, with a focus on poorer countries.

Related Links:

UN Complicit in Forced Sterilizations
UNFPA: A Runaway Agency
Related LifeSiteNews Coverage:

United Nations Agency Involved in Forced Abortions in China Celebrates New Funding from Obama Administration
UNPFA Loses $235 Million Due to Pro-Life Group's Efforts
UNFPA Population Awards Honor Abortion Advocates
UNFPA Pitches Abortion as a Means to Reduce Child Poverty

CPS is Socialism

Examiner Bio CPS is Socialism
November 27, 2:52 PMFamily Rights Examiner Leonard Henderson

CPS agents are implementing European Socialism to tear the heart and soul out of the very fabric of America by destroying the FAMILY.

This is why passing the Parent's Rights Amendment is so CRITICAL.

CPS agents ARE America's Domestic Terrorists.

We fight the pandemic corruption in the legal system every day. Family Courts are unconstitutional, and no semblance of Constitutional Due Process exists there.

We are dealing with a system that is incompetent, corrupt, malfeasant, and utterly evil.

"There is something bad happening to our children in family courts today that is causing them more harm than drugs, more harm than crime and even more harm than child molestation." Judge Watson L. White Superior Court Judge, Cobb County, Georgia

“There is no crueler tyranny than that which is exercised under color or law, and with the colors of justice.” -United States v. Janotti, 673 F.2d 578, 614 (3d Cir. 1982)

American parents are sabotaged, undermined, and utterly abandoned by virtually every institution and by the culture itself.

American Families ARE the "general interest group" all the "special interest groups" want to knock chunks out of.

Don't spank a spoiled rotten princess- She will grow up to be a fine CPS worker, judge, psychiatrist, Democrat or prostitute some day.

UPDATE: One of our AFRA folks says-

In all fairness, you could have just as well said, "don't discipline the boy for shaking his schoolmates upside down for their lunch money, he could grow up to be a fine family court judge, social worker, republican, tax collector or pimp some day!"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Nashua Telegraph-Reader Takes Issue With Work of DCYF

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 Reader takes issue with work of DCYF This letter is about the state Division for Children, Youth & Families:

I would like to know if your workers are investigated before working for you, as they seem to have trouble telling the truth.

I understand the federal government pays the state $5,000 for every child in foster care. I read the papers and watch the news and talk to people.

You have a record of breaking up homes and lying about it. The boys are going to the same home; then that night they are put in separate homes.

You get an anonymous tip accusing someone and you go in and remove the child without checking anything. Or you go in and leave the child to be beaten and abused, saying you do not have enough workers or money.

A lot of the times the child you do take out of the house is returned without any findings – just a waste of money.

Pearl Besk



Time For NH DCYF Workers and Former DCYF Workers to Come Foreward

I am asking NH DCYF workers and former NH DCYF workers to come forward and speak up about the deceitful practices used on families in the illegal taking of their children. DCYF/CPS workers from other states are speaking up. It's time for NH workers to speak up also.
I am aware that Nashua DCYF workers have resigned, due to the illegal removal of so many children in the Nashua area, due to orders given by unsavory Supervisors. The former caseworkers have spoken up, but not to the people who can put a stop to these illegal practices.
If a Federal Class Action Lawsuit is started, none of you will be immune. The deceitful Supervisors will NOT protect any of you, as they will be defendents in this lawsuit also.They will be too busy trying to protect themselves. If you really want to help the families of NH, as you have already proclaimed, nows your chance.
We will NOT stop until the truth comes out and our illegally stolen children are returned.

In Response to David Johnsons letter in the Nashua Telegraph on Nov.7,2009

This is a letter I wrote and sent to the Nashua Telegraph, in response to David Johnsons letter published on Nov.7,2009. It has yet to be published, but I'm in hopes it will be.

I am writing in response to David Johnson's letter to the editor as to the Redress Grievance Caucus, as to bill's filed to remove a Judge and a Marital Master.
Mr. Johnson was quite correct in his letter and many of the citizens of NH, as well as people from other states are quite happy to see our Legislature is working toward helping the families of NH torn apart by the corruption of DCYF and our Judicial system. He's right, Republican's nor Democrats are safe from this corruption. Our children and families lives are at stake. It's about time someone within our government held DCYF and Judges accountable for the illegal practices used against families in the taking of their children. There is no Judicial accountability or Lawyer accountability in this state. Judges and Lawyers side with their own, as well as DCYF.
My grandson has been placed in a pre-adoptive home, scheduled to be adopted in December. From what I've been told, he's in the same foster strangers home where he was first placed, where he tried to hang himself at age six, because all he wanted was to be with his grandfather. He's been put adderal since then to calm down his newly found violent behavior since his removal by DCYF.
The Administrator in Concord stated in an e-mail to the Administrative Appeals unit that my grandson's name has been changed. To change a child's name before he's adopted is illegal, yet when does DCYF follow the law. They don't and neither do the Probate Court Judges. The Judges write the opposite of testmony heard in court in their decisions and the Supreme Court goes right along with them, seperating children from their families forever. I know this for a fact.
A DCYF worker told my husband and I that parental rights terminations in NH are never reversed.I myself have'nt seen this happen. She also told us our government gave them the power to do whatever they want and they do. No matter how many children they traumatize and families they tear apart. Do the Supreme Court Judges really believe that these Probate Judges or even District Court Judges are perfect? That they are alway's right? Or is it just a matter of siding with their own?
Something is definitely wrong with the NH Judicial system. I don't understand how our government can stand by and let this happen to it's own people. The people who voted them into office. I pray the Redress Grievance Caucus can straighten out this mess, seeing as they are the only elected official's with the gut's to go up against this corruption. Hopefully before my grandson succeeds in his next attempt to commit suicide.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

DHHS/DCYF Fraud in New Hampshire

This is a letter I sent out to all NH state officials May 01, 2009. It turned many heads!
DHHS Fraud
I am writing to report the Fraud and abuse by DHHS/DCYF in N.H. Children are being taken from their families due to false allegations of abuse and neglect. No services are given to at-risk families before the child is removed, which is a Federal mandate. These children are not placed with relatives. Relative placement is never even considered, another Federal mandate not practiced by DCYF in Nashua, N.H. The children are immediately placed in Foster care, where DCYF receives Federal funding fraudulently. "Reasonable efforts" to reunify the families is not practiced by DCYF in Nashua, N.H. nor anywhere else. Proof of innocence is hidden from the courts and assessment workers do not investigate before a child is removed. The reason being, they have orders from the higher ups to take the child and run. Money means more to them than the life of a child.
Perjury and other deceitful practices are used by DCYF caseworkers and DCYF Lawyers to remove and keep children from their entire families and then fraudulently adopted out. Children are placed in orphanages, at a cost to the state of three hundred dollars per day instead of being placed with relatives.
Families are double and triple billed by the state for their unwanted services. Parents are railroaded once a report comes in. DCYF believes they are psychics and remove children by saying their sure the child will be neglected in the future and the Judges fall for it.
Parents are given real estate Lawyers for their child custody cases, who don't have a clue. The Judges refuse to let the parents fire them, even though they do nothing to defend the parent and claim they didn't fight because the court is their boss. The Lawyer refuses to file any and all appeals. The Judge states it's too bad if the child was taken illegally, appeals weren't filed.
DCYF caseworkers and their Lawyers laugh in the faces of Parents when they state,"The Judge has no say. It's all up to me if you ever get your child back.
Foster parents are being asked to take more children into their households than the law permits. When they refuse, the DCYF Supervisor’s response,”Who’s going to know?” So then in retaliation against the foster parent, the children already placed with the fosters are removed, even after open adoption is planned by the parents. Why are caseworkers and Supervisors, not to mention district managers hired by DCYF with no background in the child protection agencies?
I and plenty of other people have proof that what I am saying is true. The Nashua District office is the most fraudulent one in the state of N.H. Families have nowhere to turn, as Governor Lynch nor the Attorney General, Kelly Ayotte want to claim responsibility for the deceitful practices of DCYF toward innocent families. They both claim they have no jurisdiction over DCYF. Then who does? DCYF corruption in our state and throughout our country needs to stop. Our children's lives depend on our government to stop this abuse aimed at the American family. Our children are not for sale!

CPS a national “empire built on taking children”: Georgia Senator Schaefer warns

CPS A National Empire Built on Kidnapping and Selling Children
November 20, 2009 yvonnemason
by Kurt Schulzke on June 3, 2008

As the Texas CPS horror unfolds, some American parents watch passively as if it couldn’t possibly happen to them. Be warned. What Texas CPS did to the FLDS en masse, other states’ CPSs do every day across the country to individual families. You rarely hear about them because they are intimidated into silence. They keep quiet, hoping against hope that silence will bring their children back. But just as with Jews in Nazi Germany, this strategy rarely works. One reason: the government kidnappers get paid for selling the kids on to adoptive parents.

Your own CPS horror could begin any day in any number of seemingly innocent ways. On this theme, Georgia Senator Nancy Schaefer, in November 2007, published a scathing report on CPS in Georgia in which she wrote:

The Adoption and Safe Families Act, set in motion by President Bill Clinton, offered cash “bonuses” to the states for every child they adopted out of foster care. In order to receive the “adoption incentive bonuses” local child protective services need more children. They must have merchandise (children) that sell and you must have plenty of them so the buyer can choose. . .

[T]hrough the process of dealing with multiple . . . mismanaged cases of the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), I have worked with other desperate parents and children across the state because they have no rights and no one with whom to turn.

I have witnessed ruthless behavior from many caseworkers, social workers, investigators, lawyers, judges, therapists, and others such as those who “pick up” the children. I have been stunned by what I have seen and heard from victims all over the state of Georgia.

In this report, I am focusing on the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS). However, I believe Child Protective Services nationwide has become corrupt and that the entire system is broken almost beyond repair. I am convinced parents and families should be warned of the dangers.

The Department of Child Protective Services, known as the Department of Family and Children Service (DFCS) in Georgia and other titles in other states, has become a “protected empire” built on taking children and separating families. This is not to say that there are not those children who do need to be removed from wretched situations and need protection. This report is concerned with the children and parents caught up in “legal kidnapping” . . .

It’s all about money, says Senator Schaefer and she is not alone:

Look who is being paid! There are state employees, lawyers, court investigators, court personnel, and judges. There are psychologists, and psychiatrists, counselors, caseworkers, therapists, foster parents, adoptive parents, and on and on. All are looking to the children in state custody to provide job security. Parents do not realize that social workers are the glue
that holds “the system” together that funds the court, the child’s attorney, and the multiple other jobs including DFCS’s attorney.

Remember: “They must have merchandise (children) that sell . . .”

Hmm. Choice is important to “buyers,” isn’t it? It’s like the dog pound. Well behaved little puppies are much easier to sell than older, misbehaving ones. Interesting, in light of Hill Country Mental Healthcare eye witnesses who were awstruck at how well behaved and well adjusted the FLDS kids were. They saw no signs of abuse. Just a bumper crop of clean, healthy once-happy kids. No trouble makers. Perfect product for the Texas CPS kiddy auction.

Some counties are known to give a $4,000 bonus for each child adopted and an additional $2,000 for a “special needs” child.

Employees work to keep the federal dollars flowing; that there is double dipping. The funding continues as long as the child is out of the home. When a child in foster care is placed with a new family then “adoption bonus funds” are available. When a child is placed in a mental health facility and is on 16 drugs per day, like two children of a constituent of mine, more funds are involved; . . .

Sexual Abuse of our Children in the Fostercare System

November 20, 2009 yvonnemason
Sexual Abuse
A recent class action lawsuit filed on behalf of foster children in the state of Arizona, Sergio B. v Arizona, serves to indicate the extent of sexual abuse of children in state care. The suit alleges that over 500 of an estimated 4,000 foster children-about 12.5% of the state’s foster care population-have been sexually abused while in state care. The action charges that “the acts and omissions of Defendants were done in bad faith, with malice, intent or deliberate indifference to and/or reckless disregard for the health, safety and rights of the Plaintiffs.”

The sexual abuse of children in government custody appears to be a particularly widespread problem. In Maryland, a 1992 study found that substantiated allegations of sexual abuse in foster care are four times higher than those found among the general population (Benedict & Zuravin, 1992). A followup study of a sample group of foster children found that nearly 50% of the substantiated maltreatment reports involved sexual abuse. Foster fathers or other foster family members were found to be the perpetrators in over two-thirds of the substantiated cases, while other foster children in the home were determined to be the perpetrator in only 20% of the incidents (Benedict, et al., 1996).

In Kentucky, sex abuse in foster care was “all over the newspapers,” according to department head Larry Michalczyk. The former Commissioner explained that within a few years of time, his state saw a child die while in residential placement, a lawsuit filed against a DSS staff member on behalf of a foster child, and legislative inquiries into its child protection system (Committee on Ways and Means, 1991). Kentucky would prove to be a problematic state. Lowry points out that case reviews conducted in conjunction with a Children’s Rights action found that only 55% of the children in the state’s care had legally mandated case plans (Subcommittee on Public Assistance and Unemployment Compensation and the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, 1988).

Perhaps the most significant indicator of the true extent of sexual abuse in foster care was a survey of alumni of what was described as an “exemplary” and “model” program in the Pacific Northwest, observed Richard Wexler during recent Senate hearings. “In this lavishly-funded program caseloads were kept low and both workers and foster parents got special training. This was not ordinary foster care, this was Cadillac Foster Care” he explained. In this “exemplary” program, 24% of the girls responding to a survey said they were victims of actual or attempted sexual abuse in the one home in which they had stayed the longest. Significantly, they were not even asked about the other foster homes in which they had stayed (Subcommittee on Children and Families, U.S. Senate, 1995).

Children’s Rights has initiated a number of successful civil suits against foster care and child welfare systems. One such suit was brought against the Illinois foster care system by attorney Benjamin Wolf, who instituted the legal action after concluding that the state’s foster care system functioned as “a laboratory experiment to produce the sexual abuse of children” (Subcommittee on Children and Families, U.S. Senate, 1995). Yet, by many accounts, the sexual abuse of children in the state’s care has increased along with the increase in placements, successful lawsuits notwithstanding. Even Patrick Murphy, the outspoken Cook County Public Guardian, admits that sexual abuse of children in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has probably increased (Golden, 1997).

Categories: Abuse By Foster Parents, Abuse by CPS, adoption and safe families act Tags: yvonne mason, abuse, CPS, DFCS, childl abuse by CPs is an epidemic, child abuse in the system CPS A National Empire Built on Kidnapping and Selling Children
November 20, 2009 yvonnemason

Systemwide Abuses of Our Children While in Fostercare

November 20, 2009 yvonnemason

A 1986 survey conducted by the National Foster Care Education Project found that foster children were 10 times more likely to be abused than children among the general population. A follow-up study in 1990 by the same group produced similar results (Maier, 1997). The American Civil Liberties Union’s Children’s Rights Project has similarly estimated that a child in the care of the state is ten times more likely to be abused than one in the care of his parents (Farber, 1993). As of 1996, class action lawsuits had been filed in 31 states, with 36 consent decrees overseeing the operations of child welfare and foster care systems. The most common complaints focused on noncompliance with family preservation requirements, while procedural safeguards, case planning, and placement quality were also frequently cited for noncompliance (Amstutz, 1996).

The advocacy group Children’s Rights has been in the forefront of such legal efforts at system reform, having been involved in actions against child welfare systems in the states of Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana and New Mexico, and the cities of Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Milwaukee, and New York City (Children’s Rights, Inc., 1997a). But such problems are not limited to the states which have been successfully litigated against. As Children’s Rights attorney Marcia Robinson Lowry explained to a Congressional subcommittee: “We have turned down requests from a number of other states to institute additional lawsuits, solely because of a lack of resources” (Subcommittee on Public Assistance and Unemployment Compensation and the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, 1988).

In a legal action brought by Children’s Rights against the District of Columbia’s child welfare system, LaShawn A. v. Kelly (1993), the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that “because of the appalling manner in which the system is managed, children remain subject to continuing abuse and neglect at the hands of heartless parents and guardians, even after the DHS has received reports of their predicaments.” The court ruled that youngsters who have been taken into the custody of the District’s foster-care system languish in inappropriate placements, with scarce hope of returning to their families or being adopted, and that the agency entrusted with their care had “consistently evaded numerous responsibilities placed on it by local and federal statutes.”

Among the deficiencies cited was “failure to provide services to families to prevent the placement of children in foster care.” The court determined that the agency had “consistently failed to provide services or otherwise use ‘reasonable efforts’ to prevent placement. The result has been an increased risk of arbitrary or inappropriate placements as well as an increased cost to the District.” Based on the case records of children in foster care as of December, 1989, whose goal was to return home and who had entered into care through voluntary placement, the Court found the agency “had failed to provide services in 77% of their cases.” Frustrated by the lack of progress after years of litigation, child advocates succeeded in placing the District of Columbia child welfare system into full receivership in 1995, making it the first such system in the nation to come under the direct control of the Court. (Gaouette, 1996).

In a Pennsylvania case, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Baby Neal v Casey (1994) ruled: “It is a matter of common knowledge (and it is not disputed here) that in recent years the system run by DHS and overseen by DPW has repeatedly failed to fulfill its mandates, and unfortunately has often jeopardized the welfare of the children in its care.” The original complaint, filed by Children’s Rights on April 4, 1990, alleged that systemic deficiencies prevent the Pennsylvania department from performing needed services, and that it consistently violated the due process rights of both parents and children:

Specifically, plaintiffs claim that these amendments confer the right not to be deprived of a family relationship; the right not to be harmed while in state custody; the right to placement in the least restrictive, most appropriate placement; the right to medical and psychiatric treatment; the right to care consistent with competent professional judgment; and the right not to be deprived of liberty or property interests without due process of law.

One of the plaintiffs in the Pennsylvania suit was “Tara M.” on whose behalf the advocacy group charged the city of Philadelphia with neglect. Human Services Commissioner Joan Reeves guaranteed the young girl an adoptive home with specially trained parents. In August of 1996, Tara M. would make the headlines once again as her new foster parents were sentenced for “one of the most appalling cases of child abuse” Common Pleas Court Judge Carolyn E. Temin said she had ever heard. Nine-year-old Tara had to undergo three skin grafts and wear a protective stocking during her recovery from burns over more than half her body. Police said the foster parents punished the girl by stripping her, forcing her into the bathtub and dousing her with buckets of scalding water. This was the very best of care the city could provide for Tara, a girl who had already endured years of physical and sexual abuse in the several foster homes into which she had been placed over the years (Associated Press, 1996).

Typical of more recent actions is a Youth Law Center suit in California which accused Eloise Anderson, director of the Department of Social Services, of refusing to carry out state and federal laws which require audits of county child welfare programs. Among the deficiencies cited in the lawsuit: “children in California’s child welfare system have been subjected to inadequate supervision, substandard conditions and inadequate health care and education” (Gunnison, 1996). Indeed, the health care and educational needs of foster children are all-too-often neglected by the child welfare agencies entrusted with their care. In a recent examination of whether the nation’s foster children were being adequately serviced with respect to their health care needs, the General Accounting Office (1995c) found that:

[D]espite foster care agency regulations requiring comprehensive routine health care, an estimated 12% of young foster children receive no routine health care, 34% receive no immunizations, and 32% have some identified health needs that are not met . . .

[A]n estimated 78% of young foster children are at high risk for human immunodeficiency virus as a result of parental drug abuse, yet only about 9% of foster children are tested for HIV . . .

[T]hat the Department of Health and Human Services has not designated any technical assistance to assist states with health-related programs for foster children and does not audit states’ compliance with health-related safeguards for foster children.

As for the educational needs of children in state care, the situation is equally as distressing. Miami attorney Karen Gievers, former President of the Florida Bar Association, filed a lawsuit in 1996, alleging that while 73% of Florida children among the general population graduate from high school or get an equivalent diploma, less than half of the state’s foster children do (UPI News Service, 1996

Categories: Abuse By Foster Parents, Abuse by CPS Tags: child abuse by CPS, DFCS, systemwide abuses in CPS, yvonne mason Sexual Abuse in the System

Termination of Parental Rights

November 20, 2009 yvonnemason

In Kentucky, an “explosion” in the number of children removed from their homes by court order has resulted in more children in need of care-yet the number of people willing to step forward as foster parents has failed to keep pace. “And its going to get worse,” says Rudi Megowan, Northern Kentucky family services supervisor for the state Department for Social Services. “They just passed legislation that will make it easier to terminate parental rights, which means more and more kids will be coming into care” (Vance, 1998).

This legislation, sweeping the states as of this writing, is the Adoption and Safe Families Act. It was the disparity between the number of children in foster care who need homes and the number who were adopted that spurred President Clinton in 1996 to ask for new legislation aimed at doubling the number of public adoptions by 2002 and giving foster children “what should be their fundamental right-a chance at a decent, safe home.” In response, Congress passed the Act in November of 1997 (Spake, 1998).

Before children may be adopted, their ties to their natural parents must first be permanently severed. Permanent termination of parental rights has been described as “the family law equivalent of the death penalty in a criminal case” (In re Smith). The power to terminate parental rights is an “awesome power” (Champagne v. Welfare). “It is tantamount to a civil death penalty” (Drury v. Lang).

In Michigan, terminations of parental rights increased by 55% in 1996 when referenced against the previous year (Kresnak, 1996). This was before the Adoption and Safe Families Act was even on the drawing board. From Wisconsin: “Petitions to terminate parental rights are on the rise in Waukesha County, fueled by changes in state law that cut the time parents have to shape up.” Over the past four years, the number of petitions filed by the county had increased sevenfold (Sink, 1998).

It apparently has become a cruel fashion of our times to systematically target primarily poor families for permanent severance of their family ties. To this end, the state of Arizona established a “Severance Project,” while Kentucky has established a “Termination of Parental Rights Project.” To implement the Kentucky initiative successfully, program officials believed that it was necessary to have the long-term and active involvement of “key officials at all levels, including the governor, legislators, and agency officials as well as caseworkers, service providers, attorneys, and judges.” This participation was deemed “essential to define the problem and reach consensus,” and accomplishing this end “required considerable coordination [of] efforts and an extended commitment of resources” (General Accounting Office, 1997).

Such a relentless onslaught against the family was bound to engender resistance. In Nevada, there is mounting anger and demand for change reportedly coming from parents whose rights have been terminated. They, too, say losing a child to protective custody is akin to a civil “death penalty” (Kanigher, 1997). Indeed, Chief Justice Charles Springer of the Nevada Supreme Court has observed that there is a “recent epidemic of terminations of parental rights of poor and handicapped parents” (Kanigher, 1997b). “As I have indicated in my dissents to other termination cases, the state seems to be running amok, spouting pop psychology and terminating parental rights in cases where it is clearly not necessary to do, particularly in cases of poor and otherwise handicapped parents,” Springer wrote in another dissent, while in another still, he explained:

The state’s modus operandi appears to be to go into the homes of handicapped, powerless and usually very poor parents, remove their children (almost always without the parents having counsel) and put the children into the home of substitute parents who are more affluent than the natural parents and more pleasing to social service agents than the natural parents.

After the children are taken out of the home of their natural parents, the state imposes upon the natural parents a “reunification plan” that is frequently beyond the capacity of the parents to deal with.

Springer has written of what he describes as the “state’s child-devouring juggernaut” to take children away from their parents only because they are poor. When child-rearing problems arise, Springer notes the problem of poverty is “rarely addressed,” rather the state seeks to assign blame to the parents thus “permanently depriving the children of their natural parents” (Ryan, 1998).

In a California case of recent vintage, a mother had her parental rights terminated on the basis of the testimony of a therapist who opined that she had a “narcissistic” personality. Her troubles began when social workers visited her home, removing the children because they found the home to be in generally “an unsanitary condition.” Orange County Counsel Laurence H. Watson and Deputy County Counsel Mark R. Howe argued the case on behalf of the Department of Social Services (Orange County Social Services Agency v Doris F.). In yet another California case, parental rights were terminated on the basis of a psychologist’s opinion that the parent had failed to “internalize” general parenting skills. Once again, Watson and Howe argued the case in the appellate court on behalf of the Department (Blanca P. v Superior Court). Dana Mack points to a case in which San Diego prosecutor E. Jane Via, whom she describes as a radical feminist, had sought to arrange for the adoption of an infant girl on grounds no more substantial than her Mormon father’s “patriarchal” religious beliefs might someday inspire him toward abusive behavior.

Perhaps more typical of national trends is a North Carolina case in which the Court of Appeals upheld termination of parental rights based on Moore County District Court Judge Michael E. Beale having found “clear, cogent and convincing evidence” that neglect had occurred based on a friend of the defendant testifying to having “observed a roach on the child’s face on one occasion,” and having seen “roaches on the car seat, diaper bag, and dirty clothes.” Dirty dishes were said to be accumulating, and dirty clothes were said to have been piled up around the apartment. This “evidence” of unfitness was not uncontroverted. A family therapist employed by the court to conduct a home study stated in his report that the house was neat and clean, and that the mother had “shown a good aesthetic sense in arranging flowers and art work to create a warm ambiance.” He also testified about the mother’s apparent willingness to become a better parent. The primary witness against the mother, Alvina Street, had legal custody of the child at the time she testified against the mother (In re Eric Young).

When in modern times it became fashionable for the courts of appeal to uphold the termination of parental rights for reasons of poverty is difficult to determine with precision. In Texas, however, the date was February of 1987, and the venue was the Court Of Appeals, Fifth District Of Texas. In his dissent in In the interest of S.H.A., a child, Justice Devany observed:

[W]hen we are faced with an economic depression and parents cannot provide adequate food for their children, under the majority holding, termination will be justified. The majority has enacted law that in a time of poverty parental rights will be terminated. The majority will have the state become a “big brother” form of government of such supremacy that it can destroy the very base of freedom and democracy in this country by destroying the family.

A more comprehensive review of appellate cases involving termination of parental rights is beyond the scope of this text. Suffice it to say that to the extent a very few children find themselves fortunate enough to wind their way out of the labyrinth of foster care toward the promise of permanence offered by adoption, a majority of these children appear to have had their rights to their parents terminated for largely the same reasons they entered foster care to begin with. In a majority of cases the reason is related to their poverty status. Among the majority of the remainder of these cases factors such as cultural bias or insensitivity, decision making and other skill deficits at all levels of administration, an all-pervasive anti-family bias, and corruption motivated either by financial gain or personal aggrandizement frequently manifest themselves. Allegations involving instances of life-threatening child abuse or neglect appear to be raised among the minority of TPR cases based on my personal review of something approaching some several hundred such cases.

And now, along comes the Adoption and Safe Families Act. Already the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a Program Announcement detailing how the legislation is to work once implemented on the state level. States are affirmatively required to proceed with the termination of parental rights when a child has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months. There are only three exceptions to the rule: 1) the child is placed with a relative (at the option of the State); 2) the State documents a compelling reason not to file a petition for TPR; 3) the State has not provided the services, identified in the case plan, necessary to make the home safe for the child’s return within the time frame specified in the case plan. The Act is “to be treated as a Title IV-E State plan requirement” and failure to obtain the necessary State legislation required to implement these new procedures during the first legislative session following the enactment of the Act “will result in a State plan compliance issue” (Administration for Children, Youth and Families, 1998).

Former New Hampshire State Senator and Chairman of the Human Services Committee David Wheeler argues that the Adoption and Safe Families Act will allow juvenile court judges to proceed with terminations of parental rights based solely on a child’s length of stay in foster care absent so much as an adjudication of abuse or neglect. The law comes with new funding streams, including incentives to maintain a child in state care until such time as termination of parental rights triggers financial incentives to child protection agencies. To my knowledge, his was the only state to reject the bill when it was first introduced in the House. A subsequent effort to attach it to another bill was discovered and derailed. The former Senator explains that as of this writing, efforts are still under way “to slip it under the door” (personal communication). While on its face, the legislation offers the promise of quicker exit from a system historically known for maintaining children in care for countless years of time, the Congress failed to ask one crucial question when it passed the legislation: Why are so many children in the foster care system to begin with?

Categories: Abuse by CPS, adoption and safe families act Tags: abuse, abuse of CPS, adoption and safe families act, children, termination of parental rights by DFCS, Title IV, yvonne mason SystemWide Abuses

CPS/DCYF Makes Matters Worse

November 20, 2009 yvonnemason
Making Matters Worse
The reporting crusade wrought other unintended consequences as well, among them an increase in the abuse and neglect of children by the very system designed to protect them. Stein and Rzepnicki (1983) explain that the possibility state action could have negative consequences for youngsters and their families was not seriously entertained, nor had the effects of state action been systematically monitored during earlier years. While courts and child-caring agencies have historically been considered as benevolent, and acting to protect children and further their best interests: “Evidence gathered in recent years has shown that intervention by child welfare agencies may exacerbate, rather than ameliorate, family difficulties” (p. 284). This growing body of evidence, they argue, “forces a reconsideration of the previously unquestioned assumption that actions taken by state agencies are ipso facto beneficial.”

As Lindsey (1994) explains, with the shifting emphasis placed on child abuse investigation, “the [caseworker] was unmistakably cast in the role of inquisitor prying into and judging the affairs of the family, with predictably adverse effects on the family” (p. 98). Dysfunctional families “may experience considerable stress with the occurrence of seemingly minor events,” notes the Reference Manual for the Pennsylvania Model of Risk Assessment (Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, undated). “The mere presence of the social worker can trigger a family crisis.”

If the mere presence of a social worker can trigger a family crisis, imagine what a full-blown child abuse investigation may do. Besharov (1985) explains that even the determination that a report is unfounded can only be made after an unavoidably traumatic investigation that is, inherently, a breach of parental and family privacy. Dana Mack (1997) notes that caseworkers will typically enter a home for the first time at an odd hour, with no previous announcement, giving no information about the nature of the charge held against the family, nor who has made it. The homes of accused families are always checked, with refrigerators opened and the bathrooms inspected. Neighbors and school personnel are questioned about the family, particularly about the reputation, behavior and habits of the parents. Nor is it unusual in some jurisdictions for child welfare workers to enter homes in the middle of the night, stripping children naked and probing their genitals for evidence of abuse. Investigations may involve repeated and relentless interrogations of children, and a battery of psychological testing for both the parents and their children. These tests are often conducted by a parade of court-appointed psychologists and therapists.

Thomas Sowell (1995) observes that, by the time an investigation has run its course, children have been strip-searched, interrogated by a stream of social workers, police officers, and prosecutors, psychologically tested, and sometimes placed in foster care. Such actions usually occur without search warrants, parental consent, court hearings, or official charges-and often solely on the basis of the anonymous telephone call. Even in the event that a report is ultimately unfounded, a family has been subjected to enormous stress factors. As Elizabeth Hutchinson (1990) explains:

Investigation of a report of child maltreatment is not an innocuous intrusion into family life. By the time an investigation is complete, the family has had to cope with anxieties in both their formal and informal support systems alerted to state suspicion of their parenting. Even if the report is expunged from the central registry due to lack of substantiation, it is seldom expunged from the mind of the family-or from the memories of persons in the support system.

Child development experts Goldstein, Solnit, Goldstein, and Freud (1996) note that, “by its intervention, the state may make a bad situation worse: indeed it may even turn a tolerable situation or even a good situation into a bad one” (Besharov, 1987; see also Goldstein et al., 1996, p. 92).

The clientele primarily “serviced” by child protection agencies may be particularly vulnerable to having a bad situation worsen. Empirical research corroborates the association between social class and the physical abuse and neglect of children (Hagedorn, 1995; Lindsey, 1994; Pelton, 1978). Child abuse has always been concentrated in areas of greatest poverty, where stress is more common. Family income is among the best predictors for both investigation and child removal (Fein & Maluccio, 1992; Lindsey, 1994). The families which become known to public child welfare agencies through the reporting of child abuse and neglect are largely the poorest of the poor, and the children in foster care come predominantly from such families (Horowitz & Wolock, 1981; Pelton, 1992; Testa & Goerge, 1988). The reasons for this are clear, as Van Hooris and Gilbert (1998) explain: “The frustration and stresses that accompany unemployment, poverty, inadequate housing, and continual insecurities of lower-socio-economic status contribute to a volatile environment in which children are at risk of abuse and neglect.”

Add to this already volatile mix a child abuse or neglect investigation with the possibility of child removal looming as imminent and the results are predictable. The mere presence of a social worker or other authority may exacerbate an already dysfunctional or stressful family situation, tipping the marginalized parent toward an act of physical violence which may not have otherwise occurred absent the anger, fear or frustration imposed by the investigation itself. Yale Professor Edward Zigler, testifying before Congress during the 1970s, addressed this issue, saying that he was “beginning to see some people who we are driving to the brink of psychosis because of these [reporting] laws.” Zigler found these early trends to be both troubling and potentially counterproductive, for even during this early period we were already reaching a phenomenon of the sort in which: “Somebody reports a parent; then the parent abuses the child again for getting her in trouble.” Zigler explained that this was “clinically occurring everywhere” at the time (Committee on Education and Labor, 1977).

Research into this area is problematic. After all, who would believe the word of an accused child abuser claiming to have been pushed toward such action by the stresses imposed by an investigation? The situation poses something of a classic chicken or the egg dilemma for the researcher, as an act of violence, or worse, a child fatality following an investigation seemingly provides the “proof” that the family was being properly investigated to begin with, and that the caseworker “missed something.”

Consider the case of an Iraqi family who became refugees in 1991 after their home was bombed during the Persian Gulf War. They reportedly lived in tents in Saudi Arabia for more than three years before the United Nations brought them to Nebraska in 1994. A year later, the family moved to Detroit, drawn by the area’s large Arab-American and Muslim communities. A teacher from Nebraska had kept in touch with one of the daughters, a former student, and called Detroit authorities to report suspicions that the parents might be abusing some of their children. Detroit police went to the home to interview the children and the parents. Finding nothing wrong, the police left. The Detroit Free Press (Krodel, 1998) describes what happened next:

After they were gone, the father — angry, frightened and insulted by the visit — said he wanted to know who said what to the teacher in Nebraska. An argument erupted. Two of the teenage daughters started pointing fingers at each other, and eventually the 16-year-old tried to leave the house, the family’s attorney said. Her parents and an older brother tried to stop her.

Neighbors heard screams and saw the girl in the street with her clothes torn and called police.

Police then took four daughters — ages 3, 12, 14 and 16 — into protective custody. Ten days later, three more children-sons ages 5, 8 and 10-were taken into custody. The four children over age 18 remained in the home. The situation has been especially difficult because neither parent speaks English.

In this instance, the vague concerns of a former teacher many miles distant first brought the family to the attention of Detroit authorities. While it may be argued that the case raises some valid concerns about the family’s functioning, it may also be argued that it was the mere presence of the authorities in the home which exacerbated the family’s functioning to the extent that further intervention became a consideration. Moreover, once removal of the children became a consideration, the authorities may have been negligent by virtue of having failed to adequately weigh the consequences of removal against the alternative of leaving the family intact in terms of which option provided the least detrimental alternative for the children.

Consider the results of this intervention: The children were spread out over four foster homes. While in foster care, a 3-year-old girl was burned with an iron, her depressed 16-year-old sister mutilated her own arm, and their 12-year-old sister was seen with a 16-year-old boy who had his pants down, prompting concerns that the girl had been raped. To make matters worse, a non-Muslim foster parent gave the older girls crosses, which was interpreted by the Muslim and Arab communities — which had over time become involved in the case — as a sign that the children were being deprived of their Muslim faith.

Compounding the difficulties of research into this area of inquiry is the industry’s continued reliance on what Hagedorn (1995, p. 63) euphemistically refers to as “medical model gimmicks” drawn as a consequence of its continued reliance on Freudian models of psychopathology (Billingsley & Giovannoni, 1972; Johnson, 1991). The relation between social work and popular psychotherapy “is the most significant issue facing the profession today.” Social services, both public and private, are organized to make individualized psychotherapeutic forms of helping the most significant service they have to offer, hence: “Whether we are dealing with child abuse and neglect, addictions, loneliness, anxiety, economic dependency, or other physical and mental disabilities, it is psychotherapeutically oriented work with individuals that is considered to be the key” (Specht, 1990).

The philosophical underpinning of psychotherapeutic intervention in the field of social work, however, may itself be a significant part of the equation. Epstien (1997), in commenting on recent tinkering with family preservation services, notes:

Family preservation services, intrusive and possibly irritating, may actually exacerbate bad situations, producing harmful effects. Although the deterioration of subjects as a result of care may appear to be theoretically remote, it remains a live possibility of psychotherapy, and therefore cannot be summarily dismissed in any service involving counseling.

The psychotherapeutic orientation of social work aside, Epstien observes that the “intrusiveness” of one family preservation effort under review “may have exacerbated family tensions in a number of cases.” Matters can only be worse in the event that a child is actually removed from the home. As Besharov (1987) explains:

Long-term foster care can leave lasting psychological scars. For the parents, removing a child is psychologically devastating, and can do irreparable damage to their bond of affection and commitment. In addition, many forms of maltreatment stem from how the parent and child relate to each other. Separation obviously cannot aid in the resolution of such problems. The period of separation may so completely tear the already weak family fabric that the parents have no chance of coping with the children when they are returned.

The true extent of the problem is potentially far more significant than one might care to imagine. Roughly 45% of child abuse related fatalities have already come to the attention of child protective services agencies (Wiese & Daro, 1994) with some estimates ranging as high as 55% (Besharov, 1987). While the precise number of such cases actually accepted into the system and passed on for investigation is unknown, conventional wisdom would dictate that had the screening operator or investigating caseworker conducted a more competent or thorough inquiry, or had a reliable risk assessment device — one more capable of better “predicting” the course of events — been made available, nearly half of all child fatalities could have been prevented and these children could have been “rescued” from their tragic fates.

For example, Barth (1994) claims that unwarranted intrusions are not as deleterious to families as is often assumed while others, such as Finkelhor (1990, 1993) and Gelles (1996), argue in support of casting a more expansive net, positing that the problem of unsubstantiated reports is not serious enough to warrant any changes to or restrictions on current reporting trends. Gelles maintains not only that child abuse and neglect are underreported, but that the solution to the problems attributed to overreporting “is a better and more accurate means of risk assessment for reported cases” (p. 47). Reduced to its essence, they, along with many other advocates, argue for what Pelton (1997) describes as “more of the same” so that more children may be “rescued” from their homes.

But will casting a wider net, i.e., significant increases in financial resources expended on child welfare agencies, coupled with a marked increase in the number of available caseworkers truly have an impact on child fatalities? Apparently not, if recent developments in Sacramento, California, are to be taken as an indication. After several high-profile deaths of young children who had reportedly “fallen through the cracks of the county’s notoriously porous Child Protective Services,” Sacramento beefed up its child protective services programs and budgets. The county hired 116 additional social workers, and began removing children from “dangerous homes” more quickly, particularly those homes where drug abuse was present (Sacramento Bee, 1998). As previously noted, the removals of children from their homes increased from a rate of approximately 200 per month to 400 per month, with police assisting child protection workers in conducting unannounced late-night home visits. The results are in, as the Sacramento Bee explains:

Sadly, increased vigilance did not have an appreciable impact. The number of children who died of abuse and neglect last year in the county was among the highest ever, 14 such child deaths in 1998, compared to nine in 1996. At the same time, the number of children in foster homes has soared, up 1,400 from last year, a 45% increase.

While the increase in fatalities may well be attributable in part to some yet-to-be-described outside factors, one may well have imagined that even such a “notoriously porous” safety net would have fared better in protecting children from harm with the addition of 116 caseworkers to its ranks. The best argument that could be raised is that increases in budgets and staffing for child protection agencies are largely ineffective at reducing child abuse- and neglect-related fatalities. An alternative explanation is that such increases in staffing and budgets are somehow responsible for an increase in child fatalities.

Further compounding the difficulties of research in this arena is the fact that there has been little research on the possibility that child welfare services reduce child mortality (Barth & Blackwell, 1998). Pelton (1990) and Lindsey (1991, 1994) argue that there is no empirical evidence to support frequent claims by professionals that child protection services have impacted positively in terms of reducing child fatalities. Indeed, Lindsey (1994, pp. 100-118) devotes considerable attention to an argument which asserts that the tremendous increases in reporting and investigations of the recent decades have failed to produce anticipated reductions in child abuse- and neglect-related fatalities.

While it is not suggested that broad conclusions should necessarily be drawn from the anecdotal accounts recounted herein, further inquiry is essential if we are to devise a meaningful solution to the problem of child abuse while minimizing the possibility of exacerbating it in the very process of investigating whether or not it has occurred. Research in this area of inquiry is scant, at best, and I would find myself gratified if credible research efforts were to be undertaken as a result of my having outlined my hypothesis in these pages.

Categories: Abuse by CPS, adoption and safe families act, illegal panels Tags: Abuse by CPS, abuse by DFCS, adoption and safe families act, Title IV Funding, yvonne mason Termination of Parental Rights